Garden Jargon

This is a list I’ll be adding to over time of terms used in horticulture, arborculture, and garden design. (“Origins” of the terms are in parentheses.)

  • Hanger: An unattached branch hanging in a tree, which poses a danger to people underneath it, not to mention arborists. (Term of the trade.)
  • Hosta Ghetto: A shady part of a garden, usually planted in the 1980s, which is planted with different — and often at one time trendy — varieties of hostas, and little else. (Heard at a plant conference some years back.)
  • Keynesian Ground Cover: A garden with a thick ground cover and perennial invasive weeds, which has to be weeded by hand regularly rather than hoed. (Brand new term coined by yours truly.)
  • Maintenance-free garden: A myth. (I’ve heard about this somewhere.)
  • Multi-species lawn: Green, lush collections of plants that are mown once a week or so. (From my mom, who heard it at a talk somewhere.)
  • Seed bank: (1) A place where seeds are saved for preservation, particularly heirloom varieties. (2) Dormant seeds in the soil, usually applying to invasive species. (Both meanings are terms of the trade.)
  • Trash-basket plant: A twiggy or thorny shrub that collects leaves, plastic bags, and other assorted items and trash, particularly during the winter. (From Professor Val Libby, Temple U., 1989 or so.)

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