Heirloom plant or hybrid? Soil structure, texture or tilth?
A new reference guide offers fertile ground for gardeners to boost their understanding of terms they may encounter at the garden center or in their favorite gardening catalogs, and puts those terms into a context that makes sense.
Garden-pedia: An A-to-Z Guide to Gardening Terms (St. Lynn’s Press, 2015) is co-authored by Pam Bennett, Ohio State University Extension horticulture educator and director in Clark County and statewide Master Gardener Volunteer Program coordinator.
OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
When approached by longtime Ohio gardening industry colleague Maria Zampini to help compile a go-to guide for employees entering the green industry, Bennett immediately thought it would be a good idea to expand the resource to be useful for anyone, from greenhorn to master gardeners.
“Gardeners might read in a book that they should build up soil structure,” Bennett said. “But what is that? What are the basics you need to know about soil pH, plant fertilizer — anything to do with gardening? We wanted to break it down for people so they have a better understanding of the terms we use in the green industry.”
The result is a colorful, 200-page guidebook that explains terms as simple as “bloom” and as eye-popping as “xeriscaping.”
It also describes why too much tillage can be harmful, for example, and why soil testing is important.
“The thing that I’m the proudest of is that this is not just a book of definitions,” Bennett said. “We also go into detail to give some context about how a term is used in gardening and why it’s important, and we tried to strike a very conversational tone so it’s enjoyable to read.
“We just wanted to boil everything down to the most common-sense use of the term and explain it in a way everyone could understand.”
Bennett credits her 23 years with OSU Extension for being able to cut through the often-bewildering shoptalk that can be used in the profession.
“These are terms that I make sure people understand when I teach or do a presentation,” Bennett said. “I can see when the light bulbs go off in people’s heads. My Extension experience has really helped give me the ability to hone things down to what people understand.”
Co-author Zampini is president of UpShoot, LLC and is director of Plant Development for the HGTV HOME Plant Collection. Both Zampini and Bennett are available for speaking engagements. “Garden-pedia The Book” also has its own Facebook page.
Garden-pedia is available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, indiebound, Powells, and other retailers for $16.95. Bennett’s share of book sale profits is being donated to OSU Extension’s Master Gardener Volunteer program.