Alpine: A plant that grows naturally in the Alps; usually refers to plants suitable for rockeries, as these plants have a dwarf, compact habit.

Annual: A plant that germinates from seed, grows, flowers, sets seeds and dies within a year.

Aquatic: A plant adapted to living in water.

Bed: A clearly defined plot within a garden.

Bedding plant Any plant that is used as part of a temporary garden display.

Biennial: A plant that completes its life cycle in two years (and dies after flowering in the second season).

Bog garden: A permanently wet, artificial garden, usually sited alongside a stream or water garden.

Border: A cultivated area running alongside a path, wall or boundary fence.

Bud: The growing point of a shoot.

Burr: A seed head, flower case or fruit with bristles or spines.

Bush: A low shrub whose branches all grow from ground level.

Chipping: Nicking the outer coating of a seed, to speed up germination.

Climber: A plant that ascends towards the light.

Cloche: A moveable cover made from plastic or glass used for protecting early crops.

Cold frame: A small, unheated permanent structure with a glass roof where seedlings can be hardened off.

Compost: There are two types: the first is ‘garden’ compost, made from decomposed vegetable waste, grass clippings and other bio-degradable refuse; the second is a mixture of loam, peat and sand, used for potting.

Conifer: Generally an evergreen tree or shrub that has needles and bears seeds in cones.

Crown: The part of a herbaceous plant from which the roots grow down and the stem grows up.

Cultivar: A cultivated variety of a plant; it differs from a naturally occuring variety.

Dead-heading: Picking off dead flower heads to tidy plants and encourage further flowering.

Deciduous: Refers to a tree or shrub which sheds its leaves in autumn or winter.

Dibber: A hand tool for making holes in soil. 188 Popular Garden Planus dormant: The inactive period, during winter, when a plant’s growth temporarily ceases.

Drill: An outdoor furrow in which seeds are sown.

Dwarf: A miniature form of a plant.

Evergreen: Refers to a tree or shrub which keeps its leaves throughout the year.

Fertilizer: A substance that supplies nutrients to soil.

Floret: An individual flower that forms part of a larger flower head.

Genus: A group of closely related plant species.

Germination: The sprouting of a seed.

Grafting: Joining a shoot or cutting from one plant to the stem of another, to form a new plant.

Ground cover A carpet of low-growing, often spreading plants.

Half-hardy: Plants that cannot withstand frost.

Hardening off Allowing tender and half-hardy plants that have been raised under glass to get used to outdoor conditions.

Hardy: Plants that are able to withstand frosts; they can survive outdoors all year round in all but the most severe weather conditions.

Herbaceous: Plants that produce soft, non-woody growth; they die down in winter, after seeding, and reappear in the spring.

Humidity: The amount of water vapour in the atmosphere.

Humus: Organic constituent of soil.

Hybrid: A plant derived from crossing two varieties, usually of the same species or genus.

Insecticide: Any substance, including chemical compounds, that will destroy garden pests.

Invasive: Refers to plants which tend to become overgrown if not kept in check.

Leaf-mould: A compost made from decayed leaves, that increases soil fertility.

Loam: A rich soil consisting of clay, sand and decayed vegetable matter.

Mulch: A layer of organic material or plastic spread on the soil’s surface, around plants, to discourage weeds and preserve moisture in the soil.

Nitrogen: The most essential element in plant nutrition.

Organic: Produced without artificial chemicals.

Oxygenator: Aquatic plant that releases oxygen through its leaves.

Peat: Partially decomposed vegetable matter that retains moisture.

Perennial: A plant that lives for more than two years.

Pergola: A canopy or covered walk formed by plants trained over a series of arches.

Perpetual: Flowering plants that produce blooms intermittently throughout the year.

Pinching: Removing tips of unwanted growing shoots using finger and thumb.

Pricking out: Re-planting seedlings into larger containers.

Propagation: Increasing plants from seeds or cuttings or by grafting, budding, division or layering.

Pruning: The controlled cutting back of branches to promote growth, encourage flowers and fruit, restrict size, or shape the plant.

Screen: A wall, fence or hedge that encloses a garden or obscures an unattractive view.

Seed leaf: First leaf or pair of leaves produced by a germinating seed.

Seedling: A young plant, usually raised from seed, with a single, unbranched stem.

Semi-evergreen Refers to shrubs or trees which lose then-leaves only in a very harsh winter.

Shrub: A woody plant, smaller than a tree, with stems that grow from near ground level and no central trunk.

Species: A class of plants that have common characteristics and that breed consistently true to type from seed.

Specimen plant Any plant that is grown in a place where it can be viewed from all angles.

Succulent: A plant adapted to dry conditions, that has fleshy leaves and stems that store moisture.

Tap root: A long, anchoring root that grows vertically downwards.

Tender: Plants that are liable to damage from frost.

Topiary: The art of training and clipping trees and shrubs into shapes.

Tree: A plant with a central woody main stem or trunk.

Variegated: Describes a leaf or petal marked with two or more distinct colours.

Variety: A variant of a species arising naturally or through cultivation.

Weed: Any plant that grows where it is not wanted, particularly when it competes with cultivated plants for light, moisture or food, or when it encourages pests and diseases.

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