Garden Vocabulary

“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry* and thrift**; above all it teaches entire trust.”

Gertrude Jekyll, a British horticulturist***, garden designer, craftswoman, photographer, writer and artist

* industry – hard work and effort (formal)

** thrift – the practice of spending money carefully so that you do not waste any

*** horticulturist /ˌhɔː(r)tɪˈkʌltʃərɪst/ – an expert in garden cultivation and management

REGIONAL DIFFERENCES

In British English, a garden is a piece of land next to a house, with flowers, vegetables, other plants, and often grass. In American English, the usual word is yard, and a garden refers only to land which is used for growing flowers and vegetables.

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This is a house with a garden (Br.E.) / yard (Am.E.).

GARDEN/YARD VOCABULARY

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  • cold frame – a large box with glass sides that you keep young plants in before you plant them outside: No matter what your climate is like, cold frames expand your gardening options.
  • cloche /klɒʃ– a transparent plastic or glass cover used for protecting plants from cold weather: Traditional garden cloches were made of glass and protected plants from frost.
  • patio /ˈpætiəʊ/ – a flat area covered with stone, brick etc. at the back of a house, where people can sit outside: Transforming your backyard or patio into a dining area ​involves very little effort.
  • cane the long, hard, hollow stem of particular plants such as bamboo, sometimes used to support other plants in the garden: To prevent flowers and saplings (young trees) from slumping over, garden canes offer a practical way to guide the growth of flowers and other plants.
  • stake – a wooden or metal post that is used for supporting something: I’d like to buy a tree planting stake. 
  • conservatory – a room with glass walls and a glass roof, built next to a house and used for relaxing in or for growing plants: Today, the distinction between conservatory, garden room, orangery /ˈɒrɪndʒəri/ and sunroom has become blurred.
  • greenhouse – a building made of glass that is used for growing plants that need protection from the weather: I grow a lot of tomatoes in my greenhouse. 
  • pergola /ˈpɜː(r)ɡələ/ – a wooden frame for growing plants on outside a house and for sitting or walking under: Pergolas are not designed to completely block the sun, but to provide relief from direct sunlight, while allowing air to circulate freely.
  • trellis – an upright frame for plants to grow on, made of narrow pieces of wood that cross over each other: Adding a trellis to your garden is highly recommended in some instances, especially if you’re growing vegetables.
  • plantera large container in which plants are grown for decoration: I need an indoor planter. 
  • flowerpota container, usually made of clay or plastic, in which a plant is grown: When talking to other plant people, the terms “pot” and “planter” will be used interchangeably. Pots are generally smaller, round and are usually meant to contain one plant. Planters are generally meant for outdoors, are an irregular size, and can contain many plants.

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  1. lawnmower /ˈlɔːnˌməʊə(r)/
  2. gas (Am.E) / petrol (Br.En) can
  3. sprinkler – a piece of equipment used for automatically sprinkling water on plants or grass in a garden
  4. (garden) hose
  5. nozzle – a narrow part at the end of a tube through which a liquid flows
  6. wheelbarrow
  7. watering can
  8. rake
  9. hoe /həʊ/ – a tool with a long handle used for turning over the soil in a garden
  10. trowel /ˈtraʊəl/ – a small tool that is used in gardens for digging small holes or digging plants out of the ground
  11. shovel /ˈʃʌv(ə)l/
  12. hedge clippers
  13. work gloves
  14. vegetable seeds
  15. fertilizer
  16. grass seed (note that “seed” can be both countable and uncountable)
  17. flashlight (Am.E.) / torch (Br.E.)
  18. fly swatter – an object used for killing flies that consists of a flat piece of plastic etc. on a long handle (to swat /swɒtis to hit something, especially an insect, with your hand or with a flat object)
  19. extension cord – an extra length of cable that can be added to an electric lead
  20. tape measure – a tool for measuring things that consists of a long narrow piece of cloth, soft plastic, or thin metal with numbers on it
  21. step ladder
  22. plunger
  23. yardstick – a stick that is one yard in length, used for measuring things (1 yard is equal to 0.91 meters)
  24. mousetrap
  25. batteries
  26. lightbulbs/bulbs
  27. fuses – parts of a piece of electrical equipment that make it stop working when there is too much electricity flowing through it
  28. electrical tape 
  29. oil
  30. glue
  31. bug/insect spray
  32. roach (Am.E.) / cockroach killer

GARDEN IDIOMS & OTHER EXPRESSIONS

  • to have a green thumb / to have green fingers (Br.E.) – to have the ability to make plants grow and be healthy: My sister has a green thumb, but I kill most plants that I buy.
  • kitchen garden – a garden in which vegetables and fruit are grown for the people in a house: A kitchen garden contains plants that are grown to be eaten.
  • butterfly garden – garden which is designed to attract butterflies: A butterfly garden is a great way to attract a variety of different butterflies to your yard.
  • to lay out a garden – to plan, design, create a garden: I’ve always wanted to lay out a garden but I’m so lazy.
  • to tend a garden – to take care of a garden: What I hate about tending the garden is weeding (removing weeds from he ground). 
  • the bottom of a garden – the end of the garden: There is a bench at the bottom/end of the garden.
  • wow-worthy garden – impressive garden: You don’t have to have a green thumb to have a wow-worthy garden.
  • infertile/poor/barren soilfertile/rich/good soil: Even the poorest soils can be improved to yield /jiːld/ (to produce) a productive crop by adding beneficial amendments (changes), which will help improve plant growth and health.

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