Garden Glossary

Understanding basic gardening terms


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Garden Glossary brought to you by D&G Gardens and Crafts

  • Chlorophyll – A green substance within a plant that enables it to carry out photosynthesis, which creates energy the plant needs to grow and thrive.
  • Cold frame – A structure that is usually comprised of sides and a glass top to create a mini greenhouse effect. Plants can be grown inside and be better protected from cold temperatures. Cold frames may extend the gardening season in colder regions by allowing gardeners to start plants earlier in the season, or to grow plants later in the season.
  • Companion Planting – The act of growing certain plants together in the hope they will mutually benefit each other, such as in pest control or to improve flavor. Read more here.
  • Compost – A mixture of vegetable matter such as leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps allowed to decay and breakdown over time into a soil-like consistency. Compost is used to improve soil, add nutrients to the soil and even fertilize plants. It can be mixed into the soil or placed on top of the soil to act as a mulch. Read more about composting here.



  • Complete fertilizer – A plant food that contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-K), but not necessarily in equal amounts. Find fertilizer recipes here.
  • Container gardening– A way to grow plants within a confined space, such as with flower pots, wicker baskets or anything else that will hold soil and allow for good drainage. Find out how to grow flowers in containers here. Find out how to grow vegetables in containers here.
  • Corm – A thick underground stem that will produce roots, leaves and flowers. A gladiola is an example of a corm.
  • Cover crop – Plants grown in place of normal plants to help control weeds or add organic matter to the soil when they are plowed under in the spring or fall. For example, in the summer, an area of sweet corn will be grown, but in fall, alfalfa will grow in its place.
  • Crown – The place where plant roots and leaves or stems come together at soil level.
  • Cultivate – The act of breaking up the soil, removing weeds and adding soil amendments, if necessary, to prepare the soil for planting.
  • Cutting – The act of removing a certain portion of a plant with scissors or a knife in the hope of growing it into a separate plant. Cuttings can be taken from annuals, perennials and even shrubs. Cuttings can be done with stems, roots, or leaves.

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