The Mindful Gardening Jargon Buster - The Beginners Guide

I firmly believe that you don’t need to know the latin name of every plant or have studied the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) qualifications to call yourself a gardener.

BUT many in the gardening world like to use words and phrases that sound like they’re speaking another language at times!

I’m on a mission to provide women an accessible route to headspace one growing season at a time and so I’ve written this article to demystify those terms and help you get gardening mindfully as a way to switch off, find calm and boost your wellbeing.


Active rest - An activity that keeps the brain active enough to focus on the activity but not so active that it becomes stressed

Annual - A plant that lasts for just one season. The seed germinates, the plant grows, flowers and sets seed all in one growing season.

Biennial - A plant that germinates and puts on green growth in the first growing season and then flowers in the second growing season.

Division - A method of plant propagation often used on herbaceous perennials where the entire plant is dug up and the rootball is divided into two or more parts. Often done in late Autumn or early Spring.

Evergreen - A plant that stays ‘evergreen’ all year round and doesn't lose its leaves.

Flow State - A state of mind when you are so deeply absorbed in something it feels like time has slowed down.

Germination - The process of the seed growing into a seedling.

Headspace- The capacity to think clearly, without interference

Herbaceous - Plants that have non- woody stems.

The purple herbaceous perennial Verbena Bonariensis in front of a bright green bench in a mindful garden

Mindful gardening - The mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment while gardening and calmly accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.

Mulch - Material, such as bark, compost and other decaying organic matter, that is spread around or on top of a plant to improve the soil and protect the plant from frosts over winter.

Perennial - A plant that dies back at the end of the growing season and then sprouts again the following spring.

Pinching out - A method that involves removing the growing tip of a plant stem to encourage the plant to send out more shoots from the main stem and develop more flowers per plant.

Propagation -  The act of creating new plants from the parent plant.

Rhizome - An underground stem that never stops growing. Puts out side shoots and roots to help the growth of the plant. Can be seen in Irises, Lily of the Valley and Ginger.

Rootball - the mass formed by the roots of a plant and the soil that surrounds them.

 The root ball of a sweetcorn plant in the hands of Kendall Platt The Mindful Gardening Coach

Seed Leaves - The leaves that emerge from the seed first, tend to be larger than the true leaves and can be a different shape. This allows the plant to collect as much energy from the sun as possible to put on fast growth. Some seeds grow two sets of seed leaves before they grow their true leaves and some just grow one.

Seedling - A young plant that grows from a seed.

True Leaves - The leaves that grow on the seedling after the seed leaves have emerged.

Tuber - The tough underground part of a stem or rhizome from which new plant buds grow.  Used as a food reserve to help the plant grow. A potato is an example.


Got another gardening term that you’ve always wondered what the hell it meant?

Pop it in an email to me and I'll send you a definition and add it to this article.

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