Garden Glossary

Understanding basic gardening terms


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

  • Family – One group used to classify living organisms. A Family contains more than one Genera. (Plural of Genus)
  • Fertilizer – A plant food in an organic or inorganic form that can be granular or liquid in nature. Check out some of my favorite fertilizer recipes here.
  • Flat – A shallow tray used to hold small pots that will grow plants. It is generally less expensive per plant to buy a whole flat of the same type of plant. This is especially true at Farmer's Markets.
  • Floating row cover – A lightweight, breathable fabric, usually light in color, that can be placed over plants in the garden to trap heat or to fend off pests. This is especially useful for small plants early in the season.
  • Foliar feeding – A liquid fertilizer applied to plant leaves rather than the soil around the plant. Fertilizer can be absorbed by the plant more quickly this way. Compost tea is especially good for this as it not only will feed the plant but can ward off diseases and pests. Find out how to make compost tea here.
  • Forcing – Quickening a plants growth so that it will bloom or mature more quickly or at a certain time. This technique is popular with spring flowering bulbs and shrubs.
  • Frost – When unseen moisture in the air condensates on surfaces and then freezes. A frost can occur slightly above the freezing point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit and can damage tender plants.
  • Full sun – 6 or more hours of direct sunlight in a 24 hour period.



  • Genus – A group of species of plants that have similar attributes. A genus is below a family and above a species. Plural is genera.
  • Germinate – When a seed sprouts and begins its growth cycle.
  • Girdling – Most often occurring in woody plants where a trunk or branch's bark or outer skin is choked with a wire or some other material. This can cause harm to the growth or strength of the plant, especially if it is young. Girdling can also occur if an animal eats the bark or outer skin in a complete circle all around the plant.
  • Grafting – A way to produce a stronger plant by uniting the root stock of one plant with a stem of another plant.
  • Ground cover – Usually the same type of low growing plants that are grown in mass and used to cover bare soil, either for look or to help prevent soil erosion.
  • Growing season – The number of days between the last frost of spring and the first frost of autumn where plants actively grow.

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