This comprehensive glossary of terms has been composed to help both the beginning gardener and all of those who have been bitten by the gardening bug. It's nice to know and understand what the gardening terms mean in all those gardening books you have been reading.
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ACCENT PLANT - This could be known as a focal point plant. A plant to catch the "center of attention".
ACID MEDIUM - A compost which contains little or no lime and has a pH of less than 6.5. Sometimes referred to as "sour" soil by gardeners.
ACID RAIN - Rainwater that contains sulphur dioxide and other pollutants.
ACID SOIL - A soil with a pH lower than 7.0 is an acid soil. (a soil pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline) Basically, pH is a measure of the amount of lime (calcium) contained in your soil.
ACRE - A measure of land totaling 43,560 square feet. A square acre is 208.75 feet on each side.
AERATION - Loosening or digging the soil to increase air and water penetration.
AERIAL ROOT - A root which grows out from the stem above ground level. Aerial roots are commonly seen on mature specimens of Monstera deliciosa.
AEROBIC - Usually used for describing a characteristic of compost heaps. Describes organisms living or occurring only in the presence of oxygen.
AGGREGATE CULTURE - The use of solid material to grow plants. Some examples are: gravel, rockwool, sand, all with the additional use of a nutrient water soluble solution.
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE - A county agency that is supported and monitored by the land grant university for each individual state. Find out where one is located in your area. Check with the local horticultural agent, receive free publications, local plant sources and gardening advice.
AIR LAYERING - A method of propagating single-stem plants, such as Ficus elastica decora, which have lost their lower leaves and become leggy. An incision is made to a portion of outer stem layer, damp sphagnum moss is wrapped in a bag around it until roots develop. Then it is cut and replanted with its shorter stem size.
ALKALINE SOIL - Soil that has a pH level of about 7.0 or more. Sometimes referred to as "sweet" soil by gardeners or farmers.
ALTERNATE - Leaf form, where the leaves are arranged singly at different heights on the stem. Compare opposite and whorled.
AMENDMENT - Adding additional ingredients to the soil. Usually they are described as soil amendments. Leaf mold, compost, peat moss, and sand can all be used as soil amendments.
AMMONIA - A form of nitrogen that is commonly found and naturally occurs in the soil.
ANAEROBIC - Describes organisms living or occurring when oxygen is absent. Usually term used when talking about compost heaps.
ANNUAL - A plant which completes its life cycle within one year of germination. See also biennial and perennial.
ANTHER - The part of the flower which produces pollen. It is the upper section of the stamen.
APHIDS - Small soft-bodied insects with long, slender mouth parts. They pierce the stems and leaves to suck out the plant fluids.
APICAL - At the tip of a branch.
AQUATIC PLANTS - Plants which grow in, live in, or live on the water.
ARBOR- A structure used in the garden to support vines of all sorts for a walkway or just a focal point. A grape arbor, for example.
ARBORETUM - A garden with a large collection of trees and shrubs cultivated for scientific or educational purposes.
AREOLE - A small well-defined area, usually hairy and cushion-like, found on the stem of cacti. From them arise spinesorglochids.
ASEXUAL - Vegetative reproductions - i.e. cuttings and division.
AWL-SHAPED - A narrow leaf which tapers to a stiff point.
AXIL - The angle between the upper surface of a leaf or leaf stalk and the stem that carries it. A growth or flower bud ("axillary bud") often appears in the axil.
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B AND B - Balled and burlap, a method in which plants are sold where the roots of a plant have been lifted and wrapped in burlap to keep it together until transplanted.
BACKFILL - Replacing dirt from the original hole after planting.
BACILLUS THURINGIENSIS - BT. (Bacillus thuringiensis) A bacterium that causes disease in a variety of pest larvae, but is safe to humans, birds and pets, and plants; marketed under such tradenames as Biotrol©, Dipel©, and Thuricide©.
BACKYARD WILDLIFE HABITAT - A backyard or limited area situation where native plants and materials are providing food and shelter for protection and reproduction for birds, insects, and mammals in ones own backyard.
BARE ROOT - Plants offered for sale that have had the soil removed from their roots when dormant. The soil is shaken free, washed and they are stored until shipment. Small fruit trees and roses come this way, as well as smaller shrubs and bushes, sold in their dormancy. Mail order companies usually ship their plants "bare root".
BASAL CUTTING - A cutting taken from the base of a plant.
BASAL ROSETTE - An arrangement of leaves radiating from a short stem at the ground surface. Most biennials have a rosette form during their first growing season.
BEARDED - A petal bearing a tuft or row of long hairs.
BEDDING PLANT - Plants, usually annuals, greenhouse grown and suitable for growing in beds or your garden. Quick, colorful flowers. Sometimes calles carpet bedding.
BENEFICIAL INSECTS - Insects that are beneficial for crop production. They pollinate plants, attack insect pests or serve other useful and natural purposes.
BICOLOUR - A flower with petals which bear two distinctly different colors.
BIENNIAL - A plant which completes its life cycle in two seasons. In the first year leaves. In the second year has blooms and seeds (i.e. foxglove, hollyhock). Compare annual and perennial.
BIGENERIC - A hybrid produced by crossing two different genera.
BIOLOGICAL PEST CONTROL - Using living organisms such as beneficial insects or parasites to destroy garden pests.
BLACK PLASTIC MULCH - A plastic mulch that is black in color. This mulch keeps the weeds down and helps warm the soil underneath.
BLACK SPOT - A disease on the foliage of roses. It is caused by moisture. To avoid, plant disease - resistant roses. Clean up after pruning.
BLADE - The expanded part of a leaf or petal.
BLANCH - To keep light from the leaves and stems, keeping the plant tissue soft (i.e. endive is grown this way)
BLEEDING - The loss of sap from plant tissues which have been cut. Pruning when the plant is not dormant.
BLIND - The loss of the growing point, resulting in stoppage of growth. Also, failure to produce flowers or fruit.
BLOOM - A natural mealy or waxy coating covering the leaves of some house plants.
BOLTING - Vegetables which quickly go to flower rather than producing the food crop. Usually caused by late planting and too warm temperatures.
BONE MEAL - Ground up animal bones that are an excellent source of phosphate, calcium and trace elements.
BONSAI - The art form of dwarfing trees by careful root and stem pruning coupled with root restriction.
BOSS - A ring of prominent and decorative stamens.
BOTANICAL NAME - The Latin or "scientific" name of a plant, usually composed of two words, the genus and the species.
BOTTLE GARDEN - A form of terrarium in which a large and heavy glass container such as a carboy is used.
BOTTOM HEAT - Undersurface heat provided in the soil by electric cables or hot water pipes. Usually electric heating cables will run through the base (bottom) of the propagation medium. A method used in propagation of plants by cuttings. Also used for seed germination.
BRACT - A modified leaf, often highly colored and sometimes mistaken for a petal. Often confused with the flower itself. Examples of house plants with showy bracts are Poinsettia, Aphelandra and Bougainvillea.
BREAK - Production of a side shoot after removal of the growing point.
BROADCASTING - Refered to as scattering seed randomly by hand.
BROWN ROT - A fungus that is very common disease on fruit. Buy disease resistant varieties. Remove all infected parts of the plant.
BT - (Bacillus thuringiensis) A bacterium that causes disease in a variety of pest larvae, but is safe to humans, birds and pets, and plants; marketed under such tradenames as Biotrol©, Dipel©, and Thuricide©.
BUD - Early stages of development of a flower or plant growth.
BULB - The thickened underground storage organ of the group of perennials which includes daffodils and tulips.
BUILDERS SAND - A substitute for horticultural sand. Available at hardware stores and garden centers, it is used to aerate and increase drainage when mixed with potting soil.
BULBIL - An immature small bulb formed on the stem of a plant; e.g Lily.
BULBLET - An immature small bulb formed at the base of a mature bulb; e.g Hyacinth.
BUSH - A many branched small shrub with no distinct main stems.
BUTTER & SUGAR CORN - White and yellow colored kernels are mixed on the ear of corn.
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CALCITIC LIMESTONE - A common material used for 'liming' soil that has an acid level that is too high. This type is most commonly used and contains calcium carbonate.
CALICHE - A soil condition found in some areas of the arid Southwest, or as the result of synthetic fertilizers, caliche is a deposit of calcium carbonate (lime) beneath the soil surface. This condition is more commonly called 'hardpan' and creates an impervious layer in lower levels of soil.
CALLUS - Scar tissue that forms when a plant has been damaged or cut. When propagating some succulents it is best to have the leaf form a callus, to prevent disease and rotting.
CAMBIUM - This is the thin membrane that grows just under the bark of a plant.
CANE - Woody stem of a plant (i.e. bamboo, rose, raspberry and blackberry bushes.)
CANTALOUPE - A popular home garden muskmelon of the round-to-oval, firm fleshed, no sutured, heavy-netted type.
CALYX - The outer ring of flower parts, usually green but sometimes colored.
CAPILLARY ACTION - The natural upward movement of water in confined areas, such as the spaces between soil particles.
CARBOY - A large and heavy glass vessel, originally designed for the storage of chemicals but now commonly used as a container for bottle gardens.
CARNIVOROUS - Used in the gardening world to denote a plant (usually tropical) that typically lives in highly acidic soil that doesn't adequately provide enough nourishment. Nature has adapted these plants to trap and consume insects for this need. An example is the Venus Flytrap plant.
CATKIN - A slender, spikelike, drooping flower cluster. Petal-less flowers arranged in a spike.
CHLOROPHYLL - The green pigment in leaves. When present and healthy usually dominates all other pigments.
CHLOROSIS - An abnormal yellowing or blanching of the leaves due to lack of chlorophyll.
CLAY SOIL - A soil containing from 30 to 100 percent clay. It is fine-textured and sticky when wet.
CLONE - A genetically identical group of plants, created from one individual by vegetative propagation. See Cutting.
COLD FRAME - An unheated structure used to start transplants.
COLORED LEAF - Leaves with one or more colors apart from green, white or cream are distinctly present.
COLE CROPS - These are members of the cabbage family (ie. broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohl rabi)
COMMON NAME - The garden name by which plants are known by non-botanists. Plants that have a short history of cultivation may not have a common name. These plant names vary from country to country, even from region to region.
COMPACTION - Often this term comes up when one is talking about new landscaping around a new construction whether it be a private home site, or commercial site. Compaction is created by heavy machinery squeezing the layers of the soil together. It is destructive to the composition and structure of the soil. No longer are there healthy air pockets for roots. The soil is no longer of good texture for planting. Often nutrients are washed away due to poor drainage, or no drainage at all.
COMPANION PLANTING - Different plants that are planted together for the benefit of each other. Whether it be color or roots deeper to bring up the nutrients for the secondary plant. Ground covers are great companion plants.
COMPLETE fertilizer - A plant food which contains all three of the primary elements... nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
COMPOST - An organic soil amendment resulting from the decomposition of organic matter. Usual meaning for the house plant grower is a potting or seed/cutting mixture made from peat ("soil less compost") or sterilized soil ("loam compost") plus other materials such as sand, lime, and fertilizer. Compost is also a term for decomposed organic matter such as what is left after a compost heap has degraded vegetable and animal matter. An excellent source of organic material for rebuilding and enriching soil.
COMPOST HEAP / COMPOSTING - The result and act of combining organic materials under controlled conditions so that the original raw ingredients are transformed by decay and degradation into humus (or compost).
COMPOUND FLOWER - A flower made up of many florets, e.g Chrysanthemum.
COMPOUND LEAF - A leaf made up or two or more leaflets attached to the leaf stalk; e.g Schefflera.
CONIFER - A cone bearing tree with tiny needlelike leaves.
CONSERVATORY - A structure composed partly or entirely of glass. attached to the house and within which a large number of plants are grown and enjoyed.
CORM - A thickened underground stem which produces roots, leaves and flowers during the growing season.
COROLLA - The ring of separate or fused petals which is nearly always responsible for the main floral display.
COTYLEDON - The first leaves to appear on a seedling, containing enough nutrients to feed the seed for a short period.
COVER CROP - A crop which is planted in the absence of the normal crop to control weeds and add humus to the soil when it is plowed in prior to regular planting. Buckwheat and winter rye are common cover crops.
CRESTED - Cockscomb-like growth of leaves, stems or flowers. Other name - cristate.
CROCK - A piece of broken pot used to help drainage. Almost always referring to clay or ceramic pieces.
CROWN - The point at which a plants roots and top join. (usually at ground or near soil level)
CULTIVAR - Used when determining plant names. Indicates the variety originated in cultivation and not the wild. This portion of a plants name is usually not Latin.
CULTIVATE - Process of breaking up the topsoil surface, removing weeds, and preparing for planting.
CULTIVATION - The technique of weeding and hoeing for the purpose of increasing the air in the to layers of the soil and to break up the soil so water will penetrate.
CUTTING - 1 - A piece of a plant (leaf, stem or root) which can be used to produce a new plant. It can then be used in propagation.
CUTTING - 2 - A method of plant propagation whereby a piece of plant is cut from a parent plant. It is inserted into a growing medium to form roots, thus forming a new plant. The new plant is "identical" to the parent plant.
CYME - A flat-topped or domed flower head in which the flowers at the center open first.
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DAMPING OFF - A fungus, usually affecting seedlings and causes the stem to rot off at soil level. The result of soil borne diseases and over watering. Sterilized potting soil and careful sanitation practices usually prevent this.
DEAD-HEADING - The removal of faded heads of flowers. Pinch here, snip there, removing spent flowers that have already bloomed. This process of pinching off used or spent blooms is to keep the plants well groomed and to prevent them from setting seed. This will also promote continued bloom.
DECIDUOUS - These are plants that loose their leaves at the end of the growing season. Oak and Maple trees are good examples.
DETHATCH - Process of removing dead stems that build up beneath lawn grasses.
DIBBLE - A pointed tool used to make holes in the soil for seeds, bulbs, or young plants.
DIEBACK - This condition is water, nutrient, disease, insect, or pruner inflicted in the area where part of the plant is dying.
DIOCECIOUS - A plant which bears either male or female flowers. (Compare to Monoecious)
DISC (DISK) - The flat central part of a compound flower. It is made up of short, tubular florets.
DISTILLED WATER - Pure water free from dissolved salts. Formerly made by distillation, now produced chemically by demineralisation.
DIVIDING - The process of splitting up plants, roots and all that have began to get bound together. This will make several plants from one plant, and usually should be done to mature perennials every 3 to 4 years.
DIVISION - A method of propagating plants by separating each one into two or more sections and then repotting (i.e. Iris is easily propagated in this manner.)
DOLOMITIC LIMESTONE - Sometimes used when 'liming' soil that has an acid pH level that is too high. As it contains calcium and magnesium carbonate it should be used only with soils that are also deficient in magnesium as well. See Calcitic Limestone.
DORMANCY - The yearly cycle in a plants life when growth slows and the plant rests. Fertilizing should be withheld when a plant is in dormancy.
DORMANT PERIOD (DORMANCY) - The time when a plant has naturally stopped growing and the leaves have fallen or the top growth has died down. The dormant period is usually, but not always, in winter. Compare resting period.
DOUBLE DIGGING - A method of deep cultivation. Preparing the soil by systematically digging an area to the depth of two shovels.
DOUBLE FLOWER - The Latin name for this is "flore pleno." It refers to flowers that have many petals present, such as roses.
DOUBLE POTTING - An American term for placing a potted plant in a larger pot with damp peat moss surrounding it. The peat is kept moist and provides a humid evaporative effect for the potted plant nestled between it.
DWARF - Shorter than its normal growth. Each family of plants has a height recommendation for dwarfness.
DRAWN - Excessively tall and weak growth, caused by plants being grown in too little light or too closely together.
DRILL - A shallow furrow into which seed is sown.
DRIP IRRIGATION - A trickle irrigation system. Highly recommended for soaking the soil well. Used where water sources are limited.
DRIP LINE - The circle which would exist if you drew a line below the tips of the outer most branches of a tree or plant.
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EAR OF CORN - The female flower of corn that produces seed after pollination.
E. COLI - One of the many bacteria associated with animal wastes that can cause serious health problems to humans.
EDGING PLANT - On the edge or border of a bed.
EFFLORESCENCE - The deposit of calcium and fertilizer salts on the outer surfaces of clay pots.
ENTIRE LEAF - An undivided and unserrated leaf.
EPIPHYTE - A plant which grows on another plant but gets its nourishment from the air and rainfall. They do no damage to the host plant.
ERICACEOUS - Plants of the Heath Family, a large important group of shrubs and small trees.
EROSION - The wearing away, washing away, or removal of soil by wind, water or man. Mulch or plant cover crops after your last harvest to prevent wintertime erosion.
ESPALIER - Process of training a tree or shrub so its branches grow in a flat pattern.
EVAPORATION - Process by which water returns to the air. Higher temperatures speed the process of evaporation.
EVAPOTRANSPIRATION - Abbreviated as ET, it is the amount of water that transpires through a plants leaves combined with the amount that evaporates from the soil in which it is growing. Used as a guide for how much water a plant needs per day/week/year.
EVERBLOOMING - Plants that bloom more or less continuously throughout their growing season.
EVERGREEN - A plant which retains its leaves in a living state during the winter.
EVERLASTING - Flowers with papery petals which retain some or all of their color when dried for winter decorations.
EXOTIC - Strictly speaking, a plant which is not native to the area, but popularly any unusual or striking plant, like those grown from GreenWeb seeds.
EYE - Two unrelated meanings - an undeveloped growth bud (potato) or the center of a flower (daylily).
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F1 HYBRID - A first generation offspring of two purebred strains. An Fl hybrid is generally more vigorous than an ordinary hybrid.
FAMILY - One genus or several genera which have a basically similar floral pattern make up a family.
FERTILIZE(RS) - The act of or the actual substance added to soil to provide additional nutrients for plants. May also be used to describe the pollination process flowers undergo with the help of bees and other insects.
FIBROUS-ROOTED - A root system which contains many thin roots rather than a single tap root.
FLAT - A shallow box or tray used to start cuttings or seedlings. Garden shops sell annuals in a flat.
FLORET - A small flower which is part of a much larger compound flower head; e.g Cineraria.
FLOWER SPIKE - A flower head made up of a central stem with the flowers growing directly on it.
FOLIAR FERTILIZER - A fertilizer applied in liquid form to a plant's foliage in a fine spray so that the plant can absorb the nutrients through its leaves.
FORCE - To grow plants outside their natural seasons. This is most often used to speed up the maturation of a plant.
FORCING - The process of hastening a plants growth to maturity or bloom. Usually done indoors (ie. paperwhites).
FOUNDATION PLANTING - Any plant that is used around a building for the sole purpose of making it look more esthetic. In earlier days it was to cover the foundation.
FROND - A leaf of a fern or palm.
FROST - The condensation and freezing of moisture in the air. Tender plants will suffer extensive damage or die when exposed to frost.
FROST DATE - Frost dates are important to know for your gardening zone or planting area. This is the average expected last frost date for your area.
FROST FREE DATE - The approximate date of the last killing frost of spring.
FUNGICIDE - A chemical used to control mould caused by fungi.
FUNGUS - A primitive form of plant life which is known to the house plant grower as the most common cause of infectious disease - powdery mildew, sooty mould and area diseases caused by fungi.
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GARDEN - English definition of this word is a formal landscaped area of the home or yard. To many people, the word, refers to a vegetable garden planted in the backyard.
GENUS - Used when naming plants. Almost always in Latin. Genus is the plant equivalent of our surnames. When followed by the name of the 'Species' you have it's botanical name.
GERMINATE - The sprouting of a seed.
GERMINATION - The first stage in the development of a plant from seed. The breaking of dormancy in seeds or the sprouting of pollen grains deposited on a stigma.
GIRDLING - The choking of a branch by a wire or other material, most often in the stems of woody plants that have been tied to tightly to a stake or support.
GLABROUS - Plant surface which is smooth and hairless.
GLAUCOUS - Plant surface which is covered with a bluish-gray bloom.
GLOCHID - A small hooked hair borne on some cacti.
GRAFT - Process whereby a part (scion) taken from one plant is made to unite with and grown upon another part of a plant (stock).
GRAFTING - The uniting of a short length of stem of one plant onto the root stock of a different plant. This is often done to produce a hardier or more disease resistant plant. Also, it is the process of joining a stem or bud of one plant on to the stem of another.
GREEN MANURE - A crop (such as rye grass) that is grown and then incorporated into the soil to increase soil fertility or organic matter content. Usually turned over into the soil a few weeks before new planting begins. See cover crop.
GROUND COVER - A group of plants usually used to cover bare earth and create a uniform appearance.
GROWING POINT - The tip of a stem, which is responsible for extension growth.
GROWING SEASON - The number of days between the average date of the last killing frost in spring and the first killing frost in fall. Vegetables and certain plants require a minimum number of days to reach maturity, so be sure your growing season is long enough. See frost date.
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HABITAT - The kind of environment inhabited by a particular species.
HALF HARDY - An indoor plant which requires a minimum temperature of 50°-55°F for healthy growth. Compare hardy and tender.
HARDENING OFF - The process of gradually acclimatizing greenhouse or indoor grown plants to outdoor growing conditions. Usually used when talking about transplanting of greenhouse plants or seedlings. Can be as simple as moving outside into a protected area for a short time, to more involved methods.
HARDINESS - The ability of a plant to withstand low temperatures or frost, without artificial protection.
HARDINESS ZONE - U.S. Department of Agriculture classifications according to annual minimum temperatures and/or lengths of growing seasons. Also referred to as USDA zone.
HARDPAN - The impervious layer of soil or clay lying beneath the topsoil. Water will run off and plant roots can not penetrate the layer. Can be broken up.
HARDY - A plant which can withstand prolonged exposure to temperatures at or below 45°F. Compare half hardy and tender.
HEADING BACK - Cutting an older branch or stem back to a stub or twig.
HEAVING - The process of a plant being pushed out of the soil that occurs when the ground alternately freezes and thaws in winter.
HEEL - A strip of bark and wood remaining at the base of a side shoot cutting pulled off a main shoot. Some cuttings root more readily if a heel is attached.
HEELING IN - Temporarily setting a plant into a shallow trench and covering the roots with soil to provide protection until it is ready to be permanently planted.
HERB - A plant grown for flavoring, scented foliage or medicinal purposes.
HEIRLOOM SEED - Any seed handed down from one generation to the next generation. These normally are family garden seeds saved and passed among individual gardeners rather than sold in stores and seed catalogs.
HERBACEOUS - Describes a plant with soft rather than woody tissues.
HILL - A cluster of plants or roots with a pile of soil around it.
HONEYDEW - The sticky secretion produced by sucking insects such as aphids.
HORTICULTURAL OIL - This includes both a dormant oil and a summer oil - used to smother eggs and developing insects on trees and ornamentals. The heavier oils are used in the late winter or very early spring, making sure the temperatures are over 40?F but, before the plant leafs out. The lighter summer oil can be used anytime the temperature is below 85?F.
HOT CAPS - Individual small structures (caps) placed over a vegetable plant that warm the temperature and protect the plant against frost, when planted in the field.
HOUSE PLANTS - Plants that are grown and raised indoors in containers.
HUMIDIFIER - A piece of equipment used to raise the humidity of the air in a room.
HUMUS - The brown or black organic part of the soil resulting from the partial decay of leaves and other matter. It is the stable form of organic matter that remains after most of plant or animal residues have decomposed.
HYBRID - The offspring of two plants of different species or varieties of plants. Hybrids are created when the pollen from one kind of plant is used to pollinate and entirely different variety, resulting in a new plant altogether. The parent plants may be different cultivars, varieties, species or genera but not different families.
HYDROPONICS - The science of growing plants in mineral solutions or liquid, instead of in soil.
HYGROMETER - An instrument used to measure the Relative Humidity of the air. Used in greenhouses.
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INDIRECT SUNLIGHT - Diffused light, as opposed to the direct rays of the sun, such as that on the north side of a house or in the shade of thick woods.
INDETERMINATE - Being able to grow for an indefinite period of time (i.e. many tomatoes].
INFLORESCENCE - The arrangement of flowers on the stem. A flower head.
INOCULANT - A seed treatment medium that contains the sybiotic rhizobial bacteria to capture nitrogen when in contact with legume roots. This is a commercially formulated strain of rhizobium, added to the soil, to aid in the establishment of various members of the bean family.
INOCULANTION - The addition of rhizobia to the soil, or applying it to the seed, prior to planting.
INORGANIC - A chemical or fertilizer which is not obtained from a source which is or has been alive.
INSECTICIDAL SOAP - A specially prepared, biodegradable soap made from natural fatty substances that kills many insects on contact without damaging plants or harming people, animals, or beneficial insects.
INSECTICIDE - A chemical (synthetic or organic) used to kill or repel insects. Please use as directed on the label. Please dispose of properly when finished with container.
INTERGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT - An approach to pest management that uses a variety of techniques to identify and if necessary manage a pest.
INTERNODE - The part of the stem between one node and another.
INTERPLANTING - Mixing two or more plants, tall and short, for foliage difference.
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JAR - BELL - Place cuttings under a bell jar. The purpose is to protect the cuttings from drafts and to insure that a humid atmosphere is maintained around them.
JOINT - (See Node)
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KEEL - The lower, pouchlike lip of flowers of certain members of the bean family. The keel is formed by the fusion of two petals. The boat-shaped structure formed by the two lower petals of many members of the Leguminosae.
KNOCKING OUT - The temporary removal of a plant from its pot in order to check the condition of the root ball.
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LATEX - Milky sap which exudes from cut surfaces of a few house plants, such as Ficus elastica decora and Euphorbia.
LATH - In gardening, an overhead structure of evenly spaced slats of wood or other materials used to create shade.
LAYERING - A method of propagation, by which a branch of a plant is rooted while still attached to the plant by securing it to the soil with a piece of wire or other means.
LEACHING - The removal or loss of excess salts or nutrients from soil. The soil around over fertilized plants can be leached clean by large quantities of fresh water used to 'wash' the soil. Areas of extremely high rainfall sometimes lose the nutrients from the soil by natural leaching.
LEADER - The main or terminal shoot of a tree.
LEAF MOULD - Partially decayed leaves used in some potting mixtures. It must be sieved and sterilized before use.
LEAFLET - A leaf-like section of a compound leaf.
LEGGY - Abnormally tall and spindly growth.
LEGUME - A plant whose roots form an association with soilborne bacteria that can capture atmospheric nitrogen. Some good examples of this association are peas and soybeans. See Inoculation.
LOAM - Good quality soil used in preparing compost. Adequate supplies of clay, sand and fiber must be present. Sometimes refered to as "top soil".
LONG DAY PLANT - A plant which requires light for a longer period than it would normally receive from daylight in order to induce flowering; e.g Saintpaulia.
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MANURE - Organic matter, excreted by animals, which is used as a soil amendment and fertilizer. Green manures are plant cover crops which are tilled directly into the soil. See soil amendment.
MANURE TEA - Manure and fertilizers dissolved in water, resulting in liquid manure.
MICRO-CLIMATE - Variations of the climate within a given area, usually influenced by hills, hollows, structures or proximity to bodies of water. (i.e. when it's raining at your house, and the sun is shining on the other side of the street). Growing grapes and making wine in a small growing area called a micro-climate.
MICRO-NUTRIENTS - Mineral elements which are needed by some plants in very small quantities. If the plants you are growing require specific 'trace elements' and they are not available in the soil, they must be added.
MICRO-CUTTING - A plant produced by micropropagation - a modern technique using tiny pieces of the parent plant on a sterile nutrient jelly. Used when a limited amount of plant material is available.
MICRO-ORGANISMS - Animals and plants that are too small to be seen clearly with the naked eye.
MIST PROPAGATION - The ideal method of propagation of cuttings under greenhouse glass, using automatic mist generators and soil heaters.
MIXED FERTILIZERS - Fertilizers that contain the three (3) major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium - potash).
MONOECIOUS - A plant which bears both male and female flowers. (Compare to Dioecious)
MOUTH - The open end of a bell shaped or tubular flower.
MULCH - Any loose material placed over the soil to control weeds and conserve soil moisture. Usually this is a coarse organic matter. Common mulches are grass clippings, leaves, saw dust, or straw.
MULTICOLOUR - A flower with petals which bear at least three distinctly different colors.
MUTATION - A change in the genetic make-up of a plant, leading to a new feature. This new feature can be inherited.
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NATIVE PLANT - Any plant that occurs and grows naturally in a specific region or locality.
NATIVE PRODUCE - Any fruit or vegetable that occurs, grows naturally, and is sold in a specific region or locality.
NATURALIZE - To plant randomly, without a pattern. The idea is to create the effect that the plants grew in that space without man's help, such as you would find wild flowers growing.
NATURAL MULCHES - Mulches made from natural materials such as compost or shredded tree bark.
NEUTRAL - Neither acid nor alkaline; pH 6.5-7.5.
NITROGEN CYCLE - The transformation of nitrogen from an atmospheric gas to organic compounds in the soil, then to compounds in plants and eventually the release of nitrogen gas back into the atmosphere.
NITROGEN FIXATION - The capture and conversion of atmospheric nitrogen gas into nitrogen compounds, stored in the soil, that can be used by plants.
NODE - The part of a stem from which a leaf or new branch starts to grow.
NODULES - Outgrowths on the roots of plants in the bean family that are inhabited by nitrogen-fixing microorganisms known as rhizobia. See Inoculation.
NURSERY - Business which is state certified to sell and to practice the growing techniques of plant material. Along with this responsibility, goes making the proper selection of plant material for the specific needs of the general public.
NURSERYMAN - One who is state certified to practice growing techniques of plant material making the proper selection for specific needs.
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OFFSET - A young plantlet which appears on a mature plant. An offset can generally be detached and used for propagation.
OPEN POLLINATED - Plants pollinated by natural plant movement, not controlled by man. Open pollination is pollination by insects, birds, wind, or other natural means.
OPPOSITE - Leaf form, where the leaves are arranged in opposite pairs along the stem. Compare alternate.
ORGANIC - A chemical or fertilizer which is obtained from a source which is or has been alive. Also the general term used for a type of gardening using no chemical, synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.
ORGANIC GARDENING - The method of gardening utilizing only materials derived from living things. (i.e. from composts and manures)
ORGANIC MATERIAL - Any material which originated as a living organism. (i.e. peat moss, compost, manure)
OSMUNDA FIBER - The roots of the fern Osmunda regalis, used for making Orchid Compost.
OVER-POTTING - Repotting a plant into a pot which is too large to allow successful establishment.
OVERSEEDING - Planting on top of an existing garden or lawn. Rye grass over lawns for winter. Wildflower seed broadcast in meadows.
OVERWINTER - The process bringing frost-tender plants through the winter by moving them indoors -- the horticultural equivalent of Yankee Gardeners spending the winter in Florida.
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PALMATE LEAF - Five or more lobes arising from one point - hand-like.
PARASITIC PLANT - A plant which lives on, and acquires it's nutrients from another plant. This often results in declined vigor or death of the host plant.
PERENNIAL - A nonwoody plant which grows and lives for more than two years. Perennials usually produce one flower crop each year, lasting anywhere from a week to a month or longer.
PEAT MOSS - The partially decomposed remains of various mosses. This is a good, water retentive addition to the soil, but tends to add the acidity of the soil pH. Valuable for its pronounced air- and water-holding capacity and its freedom from weeds and disease organisms.
PEBBLE TRAY - Grouping potted plants within a shallow, pebble filled tray in order to maintain humidity in an environment with central heating. Water is poured into the pebbles and evaporates up and around the plants.
PENDANT - Hanging.
PERENNIAL - A plant which will live for three years or more under normal conditions.
PERFOLIATE - Paired leaves which fuse around the stem.
PERLITE - A mineral, which when expanded by a heating process forms lightweight, porous white granuals. Perlite is a good addition to container potting mixes, to promote moisture retention while allowing good drainage. No nutrient value.
PEST - Any insect or animal which is detrimental to the health and well being of plants or other animals.
PETAL - One of the divisions of the corolla - generally the showy part of the flower.
PETIOLE - A leaf stalk.
pH - A scientific measure of acidity and alkalinity. Basically, pH is a measure of the amount of lime (calcium) contained in your soil. A soil with a pH lower than 7.0 is an acid soil, a soil pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline soil. Soil pH can be tested with an inexpensive test kit obtained at your local garden center.
PHOTOSYNTHESIS - The internal process by which a plant turns sunlight into growing energy. The formation of carbohydrates in plants from water and carbon dioxide, by the action of sunlight on the Chlorophyll within the leaves.
PHYLLODE - A leaf stalk expanded to look like and act like a leaf.
PICOTEE - Term applied to a narrow band of color on a pale ground at the edge of a petal.
PINCHING BACK - Utilizing the thumb and forefinger to nip back the very tip of a branch or stem. Pinching promotes branching, and a bushier, fuller plant
PINCHING OUT - The removal of the growing point of a stem to induce bushiness or to encourage flowering. Also known as stopping.
PINNATE LEAF - A series of leaflets arranged on either side of a central stalk.
PIP - Two distinct meanings - the seed of some fruits (e.g Orange) and the rootstock of some flowering plants (e.g Convallaria).
PISTIL - The seed-bearing organ of a flower, consisting of the ovary, stigma, and style.
PLANT WINDOW - Double window with plants grown in the space between.
PLUG - A small but well-rooted seedling raised in a cellular tray and sold for growing on.
PLUNGING - The placing of a pot up to its rim outdoors in soil, peat or ashes.
POCKET GARDEN - A small growing area planted with miniature and dwarf varieties.
POLLEN - The yellow dust produced by the anters. It is the male element which fertilized the ovule.
POLLINATION - The transfer of pollen from the stamen (male part of the flower) to the pistil (female part of the flower), which results in the formation of a seed. Hybrids are created when the pollen from one kind of plant is used to pollinate and entirely different variety, resulting in a new plant altogether.
POT-BOUND - A plant growing in a pot which is too small to allow proper leaf and stem growth.
POTTING ON - The repotting of a plant into a proper-sized larger pot which will allow continued root development.
POTTING MIX - Pre-packaged ready-to-use soil mixture that may include sand, compost, vermiculite, and peat moss. Obtained at your local garden center
POTTING SOIL - A soil mixture designed for use in container gardens and potted plants. Potting mixes should be loose, light, and sterile.
PRESSURE-TREATED WOOD - Wood which has been impregnated with preservatives to resist decay. Use with caution in your garden area where vegetables or herbs will grow or are presently growing.
PRICKING OUT - The moving of seedlings from the tray or pot in which they were sown to other receptacles where they can be spaced out individually.
PROPAGATION - For gardening methods, this refers to the many different ways of starting new plants. This included various methods of starting new plants ranging from starting seeds to identical clones created by cuttings or layering. See cuttings and layering.
PRUNING - The cutting and trimming of plants to remove dead or injured wood. Used to control and direct the new growth of a plant, increase quality or yield of flowers or fruit. Also to ensure growth position of main branches to enhance structural strength, beauty and to avoid winter damage.
PURITY (Seed) - The seed is true to type and does not contain undesirable contaminants.
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QUARANTINE - Some states have laws which prohibit the movement of certain fruits and vegetables into these states that are known to harbor harmful organisms.
QUARANTINE LAWS - Federal quarantine laws prevent the importation of soil, certain plants and plant products because of the danger of introducing new diseases or insect pests into the country.
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RAISED BED - Elevated garden bed offering better drainage, soil aeration and warmer soil than a conventional garden bed.
RELATIVE HUMIDITY - The measurement of the amount of moisture in the atmosphere.
RESTING PERIOD - The time when a plant has naturally stopped growing but when there is little or no leaf fall. Compare to dormant period.
RETICULATE - Marked with a branched network of veins or fibers.
RHIZOME - A modified plant stem which grows horizontally, under the surface of the soil. New growth then emerges from different points of the rhizome. Irises and some lawn grasses are rhizome plants.
RHIZOBIUM BACTERIA - Bacteria that grow in close association with the roots of legumes and can convert atmospheric nitrogen into nitrate.
ROOT BALL - The network of roots along with the attached soil, of any given plant. See B and B.
ROOTBOUND - A condition which exists when a potted plant has outgrown its container. The roots become entangled and matted together, and the growth of the plant becomes stunted. When repotting, loosen the roots on the outer edges of the root ball, to induce them to once again grow outward.
ROOTING HORMONE - A chemical in powder or liquid form which promotes the formation of roots at the base of a properly prepared cutting.
ROSETTE - Term applied to a whorl of leaves arising at the base of a plant.
ROW COVERS - Several types of semitransparent materials used to cover plants, trapping heat, enhancing growth, and provide protection from frost or winds.
RUGOSE - Rough and wrinkled.
RUNNER - A slender stem growing out from the base of some plants, which terminates with a new offset plant. The new plant may be severed from the parent after it has developed sufficient roots. Strawberry plants develop runners. Sometimes called a 'Stolen.'
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SCARIFY - Nick or break seed coat slightly with a small file or scissors in order to facilitate the entrance of water into the seed. This will help to start the germination process.
SCION - A short length of stem, taken from one plant which is then grafted onto the rootstock of another plant.
SEEDLING - A young plant grown from seed.
SELF-COLOR - A flower with single colored petals.
SELF-SEED - The process of a plant releasing its own seed, which will readily germinate nearby and produce new plants.
SEPAL - One of the divisions of the calyx.
SERRATE - Saw-edged leaf design.
SESSILE - A stalkless leaf or flower which is borne directly on the stem.
SHEET COMPOSTING - A method of spreading undecomposed organic materials over the soil's surface, then working them into the soil to decompose, rather than piling them and spreading the resulting compost. See Green Manure.
SHORT DAY PLANT - A plant which requires light for a shorter period than it would normally receive from daylight in order to induce flowering; e.g Chrysanthemum and Poinsettia.
SHRUB - A woody plant with a framework of branches and little or no central stem.
SIDE-DRESSING - The application of fertilizer or organic matter around a plant, the material being left on the soil surface rather than being dug in. Also known as top-dressing.
SILICA GEL - A desiccant used to dry flowers for craft use.
SINGLE FLOWER - A flower with a normal amount of petals present, arranged in a single row. Daisies are a good example of this type.
SLIP - A cutting.
SLOW-RELEASE FERTILIZERS - A fertilizer formulated to be inactive until released by water or temperature and to activate slowly over a period of time (e.g., 3-month or 6-month formulations).
SOFTWOOD CUTTING - A cutting made early in the season, from new growth.
SOIL AMENDMENT - Ingredients such as sand, peat moss, or compost that are added to soil to improve its texture.
SOIL LESS MIX - Growing medium often containing materials such as perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss, but no natural soil. Holds water and nutrients very well.
SOIL pH - The amount of lime (calcium) contained in your soil. A soil with a pH lower than 7.0 is an acid soil, a soil pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline soil. Soil pH can be tested with an inexpensive test kit purchased from your garden center.
SOIL POLYMERS - Super absorbant polymers recently developed that can increase water retention of soils. They can absorb hundreds of time their weight in water and are primarily used in container bound plants.
SOIL TESTING - Measuring the nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium, trace elements, minerals, salts, and pH levels of the soil. You can test your own soil with soil testing kits, or send soil samples to your local Cooperative Extension Service office.
SPADIX - A fleshy flower spike in which tiny florets are embedded.
SPATHE - A large bract, sometimes highly colored, surrounding or enclosing a spadix. The spathe flower is characteristic of the aroids, such as Anthurium and Spathiphyllum.
SPECIES - Used when naming plants. Designates a specific species of the 'Genus' and is best described as the plant worlds equivalent to our Christian names (or first names). Will follow the Genus name and is usually in Latin. Note: Once a plants full name is used, i.e. Hedera helix, future listings will abbreviate the Genus name and follow it with the species name. An example would be, H. helix, as the next plant in a listing.
SPHAGNUM MOSS - A bog moss which is collected and composted. Most peat moss is composed primarily of sphagnum moss. This moss is also packaged and sold in a fresh state, and used for lining hanging baskets and air layering. See Air Layering.
SPORE - The body of a microscopic size reproductive cell of non-flowering plants, such as ferns, fungi (mushrooms) and mosses. This corresponds to seed in the higher plants. (These plants do not produce seeds.)
SPORT - A plant which shows a marked and inheritable change from its parent; a "mutation" in Mother Nature.
STAKING - The practice of driving a stake into the ground next to, and as a support for a plant. When attaching the plant to the stake, be sure that it is tied loosely so it doesn't strangle the stem. When staking a potted plant, the stake should be set into the planter before the plant is added.
STAMEN - The male reproductive parts of a flower.
STANDARD - A plant which does not normally grow as a tree but is trained into a tree-like form.
STERILIZED SOIL - A rather misleading term, as steam- or chemically sterilized soil is only partially sterilized. Harmful organisms have been killed but helpful bacteria have been spared.
STIGMA - The part of the female organ of the flower which catches the pollen.
STIPULE - A small outgrowth at the base of the leaf stalk.
STOCK - Rootstock
STOLON - A thin, underground runner. See runner.
STOPPING - See pinching out.
STOVE PLANT - A plant which requires warm greenhouse conditions in winter.
STRAIN - A selection of a variety, cultivar or species which is raised from seed.
STRATIFICATION - Chilling process done to seeds to enhance their germination.
SUCCULENT - Succulents plants have leaves and/or stems which are thick and fleshy. They often have waxy outer layers that allow the plants to retain water well.
SUCKER - A shoot or growth originating from the rootstock of a grafted plant, rather than the desired part of the plant. Sucker growth should be removed, so it doesn't draw energy from the main plant.
SUN SCORCH - Spots on leaves that are caused by exposure to strong sunlight. Tomatoes may get sun scorched.
SYSTEMIC - A chemical which is absorbed directly into a plants system to either kill feeding insects on the plant, or to kill the plant itself.
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TAP ROOT - A thick, strongly vertical root, usually extending to considerable depth. For example, the walnut tree root and our garden carrot. Note: (not all plants have tap roots)
TASSEL - The structure at the tip of the corn plant, which is the male flower.
TENDER - An indoor plant which requires a minimum temperature of 60°F. Occasional short exposure to temperatures below this level may be tolerated. Compare hardy and half hardy.
TENDER PLANTS - Plants which are unable to endure frost or freezing temperatures.
TENDRIL - The twisting, clinging, slender growth on many vines, which allows the plant to attach themselves to a support or trellis.
TERMINAL - The uppermost bud or flower on a stem.
TERRARIUM - A partly or entirely closed glass container used to house a collection of indoor plants.
TERRESTRIAL - A plant which grows in the soil.
THATCH - The layer of dead stems that builds up under many lawn grasses. Thatch should be removed periodically to promote better water and nutrient penetration into the soil.
THIN - To remove the weakest seedlings which prevents crowding of plants.
THINNING - Removing excess seedlings, to allow sufficient room for the remaining plants to grow. Thinning also refers to removing entire branches from a tree or shrub, to give the plant a more open structure.
TILL - To work the soil by cultivating or digging it. This is done by hand or machine.
TOP-DRESSING - A process that means to apply on the top surface of the soil. Usually referring to the spreading of organic material such as manure or mulch.
TOPIARY - The art of clipping and training woody plants to form geometric shapes or intricate patterns. Box and Myrtle are suitable types.
TOPSOIL - The top layer of native soil. This term may also apply to good quality soil sold at nurseries and garden centers.
TOXICITY - Inherent classification rating or capacity of a material to produce death or injury.
TRACE ELEMENTS - Chemical elements present in exceedingly small quantities. (PPM - parts per million).
TRANSPIRATION - The release of moisture through the leaves of a plant.
TRANSPLANTING - The process of digging up a plant and moving it to another location. This should be done in the late Fall, when the plant is dormant.
TRAP CROPS - Plants that attract insect pests keeping them away from the main or primary vegetable crop.
TREE - A woody plant with a distinct central trunk. Compare shrub.
TRUE LEAVES - The first hardy leaves, usually the second pair, on a new plant.
TRUG - The traditional "English basket." It basically is just a shallow basket for light chores, like carrying flowers, fruits and vegetables. Traditionally made out of wood. Very functional.
TUBER - A storage organ used for propagation. It may be a fleshy root (e.g Dahlia) or a swollen underground stem.
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UMBEL - A part of the plant bearing flowers in which all the flower stalks are of similar length and arise from the same point.
UNDERPLANTING - Growing short plants such as a ground cover under taller plants. Under taller trees, some shrubs would be used as an underplanting.
UNISEXUAL - A flower of one sex only (See also Monoecious and Dioecious)
USDA Zone - U.S. Department of Agriculture classifications according to annual minimum temperatures and/or lengths of growing seasons. Also referred to as hardiness zones.
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VARIEGATED - Leaves which are marked with multiple colors.
VARIEGATED LEAF - A green leaf design which is blotched, edged or spotted with yellow, white or cream color.
VARIETY - One of possibly many closely-related plant species. The variety name is usually in Latin.
VERMICULITE - A light-weight, mineral called mica, which has been heated to the point of expansion. This material is added to potting mixtures to improve root growth via aeration and has moisture retaining abilities. There is no nutritive value in the mineral.
VERNALIZATION - The cold treatment needed by some fall-germinating plants to promote flowering the following spring.
VIABLE - Capable of growing.
VICTORY GARDEN - During WWII, armed with shovels and packets of vegetable seeds, in millions of small town America backyards, empty lots and on city rooftops, vegetable gardens, know as Victory Gardens, suddenly sprouted up across this great country of ours. (See also White House Vegetable Garden)
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WEED - An uninvited and usually unattractive plant that surfaces in gardens. Usually weed seeds are delivered by winds, or in a farmers load of manure from his cows, who naturally eat in the fields.
WETTING AGENT - A substance added to water that increases its ability to wet surfaces, especially those that are waxy or oily.
WHIP GRAFT - Graft in which the scion and rootstock are locked together tighter than in ordinary grafting.
WHITE HOUSE VEGETABLE GARDEN - First Lady Michelle Obama broke ground on a new White House vegetable garden. This will be the first vegetable garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt planted a "Victory Garden" during World War Two. (See also Victory Garden)
WHORLED - Leaf form, where three or more leaves radiate from a single node.
WICK - A length of fibre or cloth that feeds liquid from a reservoir to a drier end.
WOOD CHIPS - A common type of garden mulch that is made of trees that has been chopped up into small pieces.
WILDFLOWER - A herbaceous plant capable of growing, reproducing, and becoming established without cultivation or help from man.
WOODY - Having hard, tough tissues that persist from year to year and are capable of producing shoot or flower buds. Woody plants also have the capacity to increase in diameter from year to year.
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XANTHOPHYLL - Is the chemical that causes yellow coloring. Almost all plants contain xanthophyll but typically the xanthophyll is covered up by more intense chlorophyll. They are found in the leaves of most plants and are synthesized within the plastids. They are involved in photosynthesis along with green chlorophyll, which typically covers up the yellow except in autumn, when the chlorophyll is denatured by the cold weather.
XERISCAPE - This is a patented name that stands for a landscaping method that is based on low water volume and drought adaptable plants.
XERISCAPING - A patented name that refers to water-conserving landscapes. A method of landscaping that aims to use spare amounts of water while still being pleasing to the eye.
XEROPHYTE - A plant which is able to live under very dry conditions.
XYLEM - The xylem is responsible for the transport of water and soluble mineral nutrients from the roots throughout the plant.
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YARD - A plot of land surrounding your home. This is where you will be spending your time and weekends.
YARD - A unit of volume measure for bulk materials, usually loam, sand or mulch. A cubic yard measures 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet or 27 cubic feet.
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ZINC - At least sixteen chemical elements are necessary for the growth of plants. Zinc, a trace mineral, is one of them. It occurs naturally in the soil in the form of zinc compounds.
ZONE - A region that shares similar climatic and rainfall conditions producing similar growing seasons. Zones are used to help gardeners predict the likelihood that a plant will survive in the area that they live.
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