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CALCICOLE: A plant that thrives on an alkaline soil. See also acid and lime.

CALCIFUGE: A plant that needs an acid soil.

CALYX: A whorl of modified leaves forming the outer case of bud or envelope of flower.

CANE: A thin stake, usually made of bamboo, used to steady or train plants. Also a long, cane-like stem produced by certain plants (e.g., blackberry).

CANE FRUITS: Types of fruit bushes producing cane-like stems (e.g., blackberry, raspberry).

CHITTING: The practice of letting certain plants (e.g., potatoes) sprout before being planted.

CHLOROPHYLL: The green pigment in most plants which combines water (in sap) and carbon dioxide from the air in the presence of sunlight to produce sugars to feed the plant, during which process oxygen is given off as a waste product. If a plant loses its natural green colour and begins to turn yellow, it is said to be chlorotic. This condition is often caused by a lack of available iron and magnesium in the soil, and frequently happens with calcifuges, as these minerals are ‘locked up’ in a soil with a high pH in a form which the plants cannot absorb.

CLAY: A soil made up of minute particles of mineral rock.

CLOCHE: A portable structure of glass or other transparent material (e.g., PVC, polythene), used to protect early crops against bad weather and to encourage earlier maturing.

COCOA SHELL: The outer husk of the chocolate bean, which makes an excellent mulch.

COIR: The outer covering of the coconut. Originally used as matting, it is now composted as a substitute for peat, or woven into hanging basket liners.

COLD FRAME: See frame.

COMPOST: This word has two totally different meanings which are often confused. It can refer to garden or kitchen refuse which has been rotted down in a heap or bin and is dug in as a useful soil improver. It can also mean a mixture based on peat or peat substitute sometimes containing good quality loam) into which seeds are sown, cuttings struck (.see strike) and plants potted (see potting).

CONIFER:A type of evergreen, which usually (though not always) produces its seed in structures called cones. They generally have specially-shaped leaves, often needle-like.

CONTAINER: A receptacle in which a plant or plants are grown independent of the open ground. A container can be almost anything from an antique stone urn to an old bucket. In recent years ‘containerization’ has become a popular way of growing nursery stock for replanting and resale. By this method, until they are ready for planting in their permanent positions, plants are grown from the seed or cutting stage in a series of containers of increasing size, potting on into larger ones as they grow bigger, instead of being raised in the open ground and dug up for replanting. In this way, when the plants are eventually ready to plant out, they suffer the minimum of disturbance and consequently re-establish themselves more quickly.

CORDON: A method of training a plant, usually a fruit bush or tree. Instead of allowing it to branch naturally, growth is usually restricted to one, though sometimes to two or three stems supported by canes and/or wires. The main purpose is to enable more than one variety to be grown in a small space.

CORM: A swollen modified stem base with a similar function to that of a bulb (e.g., crocus).

CROWN: The top part of the roots, from which shoots emerge. Also the mass of branches at the top of the trunk of a tree.

CULTIVAR: See variety.

CULTIVATION: Working land or soil for the purpose of growing plants on it; also giving active attention to the growth of plants or crops.

CUTTING: A piece of a plant removed from the parent and prepared in some way, which will eventually grow roots and shoots of its own and develop into a new independent plant.


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