Gardening Language and Terms


Gain a clear understanding of the words used by gardeners worldwide.

By knowing these terms you will easily identify the methods used, equipment required and comprehend gardening information accessed through various information media.

From this lesson you will identify words and terms used to describe gardens and gardening methods.

Before you start Lesson 1, consider where you’re at now with your understanding of gardening terms, equipment and methods. This helps to measure how much you have learnt once the course is complete and also gives you confidence in applying your new knowledge!

Please choose which best describes you right now –

  1. I have heard about some gardening words, equipment and methods but have no understanding of what they mean.
  2. I have a basic understanding of some words, equipment and methods but need clearer knowledge to take action.
  3. I understand the meaning of words and terms used in gardening and the equipment used when gardening, but lack knowledge of how to apply them.
  4. I have knowledge of gardening terms, equipment and methods and have a clear understanding on how to apply them.

I’ll check back with you on this after Lesson 5! 🙂

Now let’s get started…

General Gardening Terminology.

The Garden – a place to relax, grow, connect with nature, harvest food and flowers and enjoy outdoors.

Soil – also known as dirt or earth. The medium in which plants grow.

Propagate – to grow a new plant from a piece of existing plant.

Sowing – to place seeds into soil or potting medium for growing.

Germinate – when the seed sprouts to life from the soil.

Seedling – a new plant grown from seed. Has minimal leaves at this stage.

Punnet – a small plastic container to sow seeds for germinating.

Potting/Potting Up – placing a plant into a larger sized pot.

Garden Beds – a space, either square, round, rectangular (or any shape really!) that plants grow in. Garden beds can be flat on the ground or raised up for easy reach.

Planting – placing a plant into the ground, garden beds or pots.

No-Dig Garden – building up layers of natural ingredients to create soil. No digging is required as ingredients are placed above ground level.

Compost – decomposing/breaking down of natural ingredients.

Humus – fully decomposed natural ingredients, dark brown in colour with a natural or odourless scent. The perfect medium for plants to grow.

Prune – to cut foliage off plants.

Harvest – to pick and gather food or flowers from the garden.

Fertiliser – nutrients added to the soil and leaves of plants to feed and nourish plants.

Watering – applying water to plants and gardens. Can be via a hose, sprinkler or watering can.

Annual – a plant that grows for one life cycle, usually through one season. The plant then dies when the cycle is complete.

Perennial – a plant that has many life cycles. Also termed a ‘forever’ plant.

Organism – a form of plant or animal life.

Organic matter/ingredients – things that are from a natural source, not man-made. Used to build and improve soil.

Weeds – a plant growing where it’s not wanted.

Climate – the weather and temperature conditions of a region. These vary throughout the world, and include cool, temperate, moderate, arid, sub-tropical and tropical.

Season – There are 4 seasons per calendar year. Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring.

Mulch – material placed around plants to keep in moisture and keep out weeds, ranging from types of hay, straw, sugar cane, lucerne to wood chip and brown leaves.

Foliage – leaves and stems of a plant.

Organic – from living things and produced without man-made products.

Garden Elements – these are the features in your garden that add visual interest and functionality to a garden. A few examples are seating, pots, pathways, garden beds, water feature, orchard and plants.

Permaculture – a design method for creating sustainable growing and living areas.

TIP – You don’t have to remember all of these, but they will be helpful when you read gardening guides, articles or ‘how-to’ information.