happy planting.


Plant terms can be confusing. If you find yourself a bit perplexed, the glossary below may help. If I have missed any, please let me know.

Happy Planting!


Acidic Soil Soil with a pH of less than 7
Alkaline Soil Soil with a pH of greater than 7
Amendment Any material, such as compost or lime, that is mixed with existing soil to improve properties
Annual Plant that completes its lifecycle in one growing season, then dies
Basal Foliage Leaves found near the base of the stem
Biennial Plant that completes its lifecylce in two growing seasons, then dies
Border A garden, usually containing a variety of plants, that is backed by walls, fences, or taller plants, such as, trees or shrubs
Compost Organic material used as a soil amendment
Crown Area on a plant where the stem meets the root, generally found at soil level
Cultivar Refers to a group of plants within a species that has slightly different characteristics, such as, flower color or size
Deadheading Removal of old, spent/dead flowers, may promote reblooming
Deciduous Refers to trees and shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, usually in the fall
Division The process of splitting up plants, commonly performed on perennials
en masse Planting masses of the same plant to create a bold statement
Evergreen Plants that retain their foliage for more than one growing season
Fertilizer Organic or inorganic material added to the soil to encourage plant growth
Groundcover A plant that spreads to cover the soil surface
Growth Rate Slow: 3-6" per year, Moderate: 6-12" per year, Fast: 12-24+ per year
Habit General form or shape of a plant
Hardiness Zone Zones that provide guidelines to measure a plants ability to tolerate hot and cold temperatures
Herbaceous Non-woody plant that dies back to the ground every year
Invasive Plant A plant that spreads rapidly and may take over a garden bed
Loam Soil that is a mixture of clay, sand and silt
Mass Planting A planting where large numbers of the same plant are used to provide visual interest
Native Plant A plant that naturally occurs in a certain area
Node (leaf node) a joint on a plant stem
Perennial Plant that survives for 3 or more growing seasons
Pinching A technique used to promote fuller or shorter plants, often resulting in more flower heads
Rhizome an underground stem
Semi-evergreen Plants that fall between evergreen and deciduous in terms of growth and leaf retention.  Some examples include:  they may shed their foliage for a very short time in late winter or they lose most, but not all, of their foliage for a fraction of the year; sometimes they may lose their leaves due to specific situations, such as, extremes in temperature or drought.  
 Stamen pollen producing structure, usually found within the center of the flower
Spathe Leaf like structure that encloses the flower
Taproot Main root of a plant, usually growing straight down

A plant whose green foliage is marked with another color, usually white or yellow

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Choosing Color

Choosing a color scheme for your landscape is not essential, but does help to create harmony and balance within a design.   Use these 8 tools to perfect your color choices: replica watches   

Choose one of following color principles: 

  • Monochromatic Color - combines varying shades of a single color.
  • Analogous Color - colors next to each other on the color wheel.  These colors tend to blend well.  Analogous colors include:  red/orange, orange/yellow, yellow/green, green/blue, blue/violet, violet/red.  You can also combine three colors, such as, red/orange/yellow, or violet/blue/red.   
  • Complimentary Color - colors across from each other on the color wheel, i.e. violet/yellow, red/green, orange/blue.  
  • Triadic Color - three colors that are equally spaced around the color wheel.  This color scheme is vibrant, offering a high degree of contrast (red/yellow/blue, or, orange/green/violet)
  • Neutral Color - colors that can be used within any color scheme (white, black, grey, silver, brown, and green).    

Look at your future landscape.  Is it a large or small space?  Are you trying to draw the eye toward features you want people to notice or away from eyesores?  Selecting either warm or cool colors will help. 

  • Warm colors (red, yellow, orange) appear to come forward in the landscape, and seem closer than they really are.  They make big spaces feel smaller and draw the eye to specific locations.  
  • Cool colors (blue, violet, green) appear to recede in the landscape, and can make small spaces feel bigger.  I you have a small garden, use cool colors to make it seem larger.     

Use plants not only for their blooms, but also for their foliage.  Some plants are known more for their leaf color than their flowers.  You have many color choices to choose from, including, blue, grey, purple, red, variegated, and yellow.  When using plants for their foliage color remember to apply the same color principles described above.  

Consider the effects of evergreen vs. deciduous plants.  Evergreen foliage provides permanent color in the landscape.  Deciduous plants drop their leaves for winter, but provide interest in their branch structure and bark. A well designed landscape will, almost always, have a combination of evergreen and deciduous shrubs.    

Seasonal changes have an immense impact on color in your landscape.  Some plants have significant spring or fall coloration that is quite different from the other seasons (i.e. evergreens new growth in spring, burning bush turns brillant red in autumn).  Others hold onto their old flower heads (Hydrangeas), or have colorful berries in winter (Am. Bittersweet, Cranberry Bush Viburnum, Beautyberry, Chokeberry, Firethorn, Holly, Winterberry).  Ornamental grasses turn golden tan in winter.  Use the seasonality of color to add interest and beauty to your landscape year round.            

Color on structures can complement or contrast with plantings.  Paint fences and arbors.  Include colorful pots, window boxes, or garden furniture in your landscape to add interest.  

Plant in groups.  Color schemes are more effective when you use large masses of color.  The same plant placed in groups of 3, 5 or more, will provide more visual interest.  Avoid planting just one unless it is large and being used as a focal point.

Use repetition.  Repeating certain plants or groups of plants throughout the landscape will unify the space and help draw the eye through the design.   

                           Happy Planting!