It is often said that gardeners have their own language, well in particular, their own set of words that can have a completely different meaning to what you’d normally expect.

There are plenty of examples of ‘garden speak’, let me translate some for you. The first is ‘sucker’

If someone called you a sucker, you’d probably not be too happy, same goes for suckers in the garden. A sucker is part of the root system of a plant that decides to pop up and grow without warning, producing branches and leaves and basically looking like a brand new plant.

The Robinia is a classic, you’d think all these little Robinia’s have been planted out on purpose. Not the case, in fact all of these plants have shot up from the roots stretching out of this large Robinia tree.

You might think an easy solution to getting rid of suckers is to spray them out however, because all the root system is linked, any herbicide sprayed here will track back to the original plant – and that’s not good.

Best thing for any sucker is to dig them out or tear away from the root system.

Next word is Deadhead – not something I’d say to a mate however it’s a perfectly legit word in the garden.

Cutting off old flowers from plants like roses is called dead heading, and it is a brilliant way to encourage the plant to produce more and more fabulous flowers shear and we’re not talking sheep here.

Unlike pruning where you tend to be a little more careful where you cut, Shearing is more about not being too worried about where you trim, it’s about giving shape and keeping plants from getting out of control. And a good sharp pair of garden shears are spot on for this job.

Bareroot – now that’s an interesting word.

While we buy loads of plants year round in pots, there are some plants like fruit and ornamental trees and roses, which lose their leaves over winter, and at that time are sold without pots or potting mix.

These are bareroot plants because, their roots are bare – simple explanation I know. You generally buy these leafless and dormant but not lifeless plants in sawdust filled bags. The advantage of bareroot plants in winter is they are generally cheaper than the potted equivalent and you normally can choose from a huge selection at that time.

There are only a few ‘gardening’ words there are loads and loads more and we’d love to hear some of your favourites. Send us an email via our website or post them on our Facebook page. Let’s spread a little bit of ‘garden speak’ around.




About The Author

In the Garden is an exciting new local South Australian TV program on Channel 9 this Summer & next Autumn showcasing the best ‘green’ stories this state has to tell. Check out the latest in garden trends, new plants and top tips to keep those gardens blooming.