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Emily Compost - Garden Glossary
Category: Animals and Nature > Gardening
Date & country: 11/09/2007, USA
Words: 484


Accent Plant
This could be a focal point plant. A plant to catch attention. Could also be called an anchor plant.

Acheve
A one seeded fruit which does not split open to release it's seed, ie. the 'seeds' on a strawberry.

Acid Rain
Rainwater that contains sulfur dioxide and other pollutants from industrial plants. There has been considerable damage done to the forests of the US and Canada.

Acid Soil
Soil that is lower than 7.0 ph (higher would be alkaline). Acidity is measured by the amount of calcium in the soil, as is alkaline soil.

Adventitious
Having growth from places where normally growth does not occur (i.e. if a stem is buried and a plant will grow.)

Adventitious Plant
A young plant that develops in an asexual manner on the leaves or stems of the mother plant. (Kolanchoe are good examples of this.)

Aeration
The loosening of soil by digging or other mechanical means to allow air to pass freely, usually done on lawns.

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. Great place to seek out the horticultural agent, receive publications, and advice. This is your taxes in action.

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.

All America Selections (Aas)
This is a group of people in the horticultural business who test new cultivars of flowers and vegetables. All of these gold medal winners can be raised from seed.

Allee
A very formal design of planting trees lining both sides of a path or drive.

Allelopathy
The release of chemicals by certain plants that will prevent the growing of other plants nearby. Walnut trees are very well known to do this.

Alpine
Plants from high mountain regions. Anything that is from above the tree line. They are able to overwinter beneath deep snow protected from extreme low temperature by their moisture.

Alpine House
A special greenhouse created to meet the requirements of alpines. It is usually kept cool in the summer by shading the glass. In the winter it is unheated unless it needs to provide protection from very severe cold.

Amendment
Usually referring to some form of organic material being added to the soil for the purpose of improvement.

Amphibious
The ability of plants to brow both in aquatic and in the exposed soil. Usually in a moist or boggy condition, when the winter recedes in the area.

Anaerobic
Describes organisms living or occurring when oxygen is absent. Usually term used when talking about compost heaps.

Annual
A plant that will complete its life cycle in one growing season.

Aphids
Small sap sucking insects. They infect foliage and are easily recognized by the sugary 'honey dew' that they secrete that often attracts ants. Can be controlled by application of soapy solution. (see Sooty Mold)

Aquatic
Plant which grows partially or completely in water.

Arbor
A free standing structure used in the garden to support vines or climbing plants of all sorts for shade, a walkway, or just a focal point. This term is sometimes used interchangeably with pergola.

Arboretum
This is a garden with a large collection of trees and shrubs. They are specifically grown for scientific or educational purpose.

Arborist
A specialist who cares and maintains trees. Everything from planting, to pruning and also diagnosing and treating diseases.

Asexual
This is a means of propagation that does not include seed production. Therefore propagating by cuttage, dividing and layering.

Atrium
A structure that provides lots of above light for plants. Commercial buildings often have their foyer as an atrium. Many homes have built in atriums.

Auxin
A hormone that controls plant growth.

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 (sometimes plastic covered material) to keep it together until transplanted. Large trees are often sold this way.

Backbulb
refers to the propagation of an orchid. It is the old, dormant pseudobulb, it may be leafless, but will still produce a new plant.

Backfill
Replacing dirt from the original hole after planting.

Backyard Wildlife Habitat
A dreamy situation where native plant materials are providing food and shelter for protection and reproduction for birds, insects, and mammals in ones own backyard.

Bale
The area of the trunk between the base of a tree and the lowest branch.

Bare Root
Plants that have been dug out of the ground when dormant. The soil is shaken free, washed and stored until shipment. Roses and daylilies commonly come this way, as well as smaller shrubs and bushes, sold in their dormancy.

Bedding Plant
Usually an annual plant temporarily in a garden display. Some interstates have 'smiley faces' that are done in a bedding plant display. Sometimes called carpet bedding.

Bell Jar
An old term and glass container which is bell shaped. On the top is a knob for the use of protection of a delicate plant. From the Victorian Era and now days known as a cloche.

Beneficial Insect
These are insects that will improve and work in our gardens. By improving the soil, going after harmful insects, and will pollinate plants. Ladybeetles, earthworms, and bees are well known.

Berm
A landscaping technique that is used to create interest, privacy, or screening. It may also divert water runoff. It is made by creating a mound of earth or a hill.

Bicolour
A flower with petals which bear two distinctly different colors.

Biennial
A plant that will require two growing seasons to complete its life cycle. In the first year leaves. In the second year has blooms and seeds (i.e. foxglove, hollyhock, rose campion.)

Bigeneric
A hybrid that is created by crossing two different genera.

Binomial Nomenclature
The current scientific method of naming species of plants and animals.

Biological Pest Control
Using living organisms such as beneficial insects or parasites to destroy garden pests (i.e.. BT

Black Spot
A disease on the foliage of roses. It is caused by moisture. To avoid, plant disease

Blanch
To keep light from the leaves and stems, keeping the pant tissue soft (i.e. endive is grown this way).

Bloom
A natural mealy or waxy coating covering the leaves of some house plants.

Blossom End Rot
A cultural deficiency created by a lack of calcium. Very closely related to extreme temperatures, uneven watering, and root damage. Most commonly seen in peppers and tomatoes.

Bog Plant
Plants that preferred damp and most sail as their habitat (i.e. pitcher plant, Venus fly trap.)

Bole
The area of a tree trunk that is from the ground to the first major branch.

Bolt
Annual vegetables or flowers that grow quickly to flowering stage, at the expense of their best overall development, and go to seed (i.e. dill in hot weather).

Bonemeal
A fertilizer made from crushed animal bones. It is a natural high phosphorus fertilizer, very slow releasing and good for root development.

Bones-Of-The-Garden
In the language of garden design this is the permanent structural elements that give the shape to gardens: paths, walls, steps, fences, trellises, seats, water gardens, and hedges.

Bonsai
The art of miniaturizing trees by careful root and stem pruning and root restriction.

Botanical Name
The Latin scientific name of a plant is its botanical name. There is only one botanical name per plant so if you want a specific variety, use it's botanical name to be sure you are getting what you want. Common names tend to be confusing.

Bottle Garden
A small terrarium created in a bottle. A miniature eco-system.

Bottom Heat
An arrangement used in propagation. Usually electric heating cables will run through the base of the propagation medium. Great for seed germination and cuttings.

Bract
A modified leaf, sometimes colored and sometimes mistaken for a petal. Examples of house plants with showy bracts are Poinsettia, Aphelandra, and Bougainvillea.

Broadcast
A method by which seeds or fertilizer are scattering randomly to cover an area.

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 which will destroy the stomach cells of insects that consume it. It degrades quickly in sunlight so spray early in the evening. This biological insecticides will also kill young butterfly caterpillars.

Bud
The embryonic shoot on a stem, branch, or tuber. It is the beginning of a bloom.

Bulb
A storage organ, usually formed below ground level, used for propagation. A true bulb consists of fleshy scales surrounding the central bud. We often think of spring and fall bulbs.

Bulbil
An immature small bulb formed on the stem of a plant: e.g. Lily.

Bush
A many branched small shrub with no distinct main stems.

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.

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
A slender, straight, not very woody branch or stem of a plant (i.e. bamboo, rose, raspberry and blackberry bushes.)

Canker
An area on soft or rotten woody stems or twigs that is caused by bacteria and fungi.

Canopy
The crowns of trees forming the top layer in the woods or forest. Considered the high shade of gardens.

Capsule
A dry seed pod that will split wide open when mature..

Catkin
Usually petal-less flowers arranged in a spike.

Cell Pack
A group of gardeners traveling together in a confined space for snipping and stealing plant material in a botanical garden.

Chlorophyll
The green pigment in leaves. It will be dominant in the plant when present or healthy.

Clay Aggerate
A product that is manufactured exclusively in high tech kilns in Germany and used as a soil replacement on hydroponics. It once was very popular in the late '70's

Climbers
Those gardeners who are willing to hike for distances to see an alpine specimen.

Cloche
This is a cover for protecting plants from the cold. In the early 19th century it was more popular, being bell shaped. Now, more conventional models are in all the catalogs.

Clone
A genetically identical group of plants, created from one individual by vegetative propagation.

Club Root
A disease of cabbages and some related vegetables caused by the slime mold fungus.

Cold Compost
A method by which organic material just rots on its own. It may take months or years to naturally decompose. There may be a significant amount of weed seeds. And, there may be the danger of some disease organisms still in the compost.

Cole Crops
These are members of the cabbage family (ie. broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collards, kohlorabi)

Common Name
The name by which plants are known by non-botanists. Plants that have a short history of cultivation may not have a common name. these 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 fertilizer that can provide all the three main elements: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Compost
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.

Conifer
An evergreen, generally green, sometimes cone shaped. Generally in a northern region.

Conservatory
A building build partially or entirely of glass attached to the house and where a large number of plants are grown. Not to be confused with a greenhouse.

Cordon
A very interesting way to grow fruit trees. Apples and pears do well in this mode. The tree is repeatedly pruned and trained to grow as a single rope like stem. For lack of space, this is ideal.

Corm
This is a swollen, underground stem base used for propagation: e.g. Crocus.

Cotyledon
The first set of leaves to grow after a seed has germinated.

Cover Crop
A crop that is planted to add humus to the soil or to control weeds (i.e.. winter rye). Usually done between normal planting seasons.

Creeper
any plant that will make long shoots and grow along the ground such as creeping fig, ivy, or Virginia creeper.

Crocking
Any material used in the bottom of containers to provide drainage (i.e. shells, rocks, broken pottery, Styrofoam.)

Cross
Another name for hybrid, but used in much more common terms.

Cross Pollination
The transfer of pollen from the flower of one plant to the flower on a different plant. Many species require this to set seed. As opposed to self-pollination.

Crown
The region where shoot and root join, usually at or very near the ground level.

Crucifer
Any plant in the crucifer of mustard family. Those flowers with four petals are arranged like a cross.