Gardening 101: Essential Vocabulary for English Learners

Elly Kimreviewed byIryna Andrus / more about Editorial Process7 min
Created: Mar 24, 2023Last updated: Jan 23, 2024

Gardening is a popular hobby worldwide, and it’s not hard to see why. From the beauty of blooming flowers to the satisfaction of growing your fruits and vegetables, it offers a wide range of benefits. For English learners interested in this unique hobby, learning the appropriate vocabulary is crucial to understand garden words, instructions, and conversations with fellow gardeners. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to common gardening vocabulary, so keep reading if you don’t want to miss it!

Common Gardening Words: Types of Gardens

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about gardening? Thoughts of cultivating fruits and veggies are just partially accurate. The truth is that there are many types of gardens, each with its unique purpose, design, and characteristics. Here are some of the most popular ones: 

  • Vegetable garden. As you can guess from its name, this type of garden is usually designed for growing fruits, veggies, herbs, and other edible plants for personal consumption. 
  • Flower garden. This one is mainly designed for landscape decoration purposes. Such gardens typically include many flowers, trees, and other plants. 
  • Container garden. This type of garden is perfect for small spaces. It is designed for growing both edible and ornamental plants. It slightly differs from the two previous types. All plants in such gardens are grown in pots or other containers.
  • Rock gardenMostly, it is an area within a garden that has piles of various rocks, stones, and also plants suited for the rocky terrain. 
  • Water Garden. Such gardens are designed around a water feature, like a pond, fountain, or waterfall. They can include aquatic plants and fish.

There are many more types you can design in your backyard. But now, we want to invite you to create our own virtual garden and expand your English vocabulary with a lot of new and exciting words associated with gardening. To get started, let’s decide what plants we are going to grow and learn about today. 

Gardening Tools

Regardless of the type of garden you choose, you need to use special equipment for handling it. There are many utensils that experienced gardeners operate. Some of them are suitable for all plants, while others are used for special purposes. Today, we will focus on the tools that can be used in all gardens. Here are some of them:

  • Trowel – a small hand tool used for digging, planting, and moving soil.
  • Pruning shears – scissors used for trimming and shaping plants and bushes.
  • Garden hoe – a tool used for breaking up, aerating soil, and removing weeds.
  • Garden fork – a device with sharp tines used for breaking up and turning over soil.
  • Watering can – a container with a spout used for watering plants.
  • Garden gloves – gloves made from materials like leather or rubber to protect hands from thorns and other hazards.
  • Wheelbarrow – a small, one-wheeled cart used for moving heavy materials like soil or mulch.
  • Shovel – a tool used for digging and moving soil, as well as removing plants and debris.
  • Garden hose – a long flexible tube used for watering plants and cleaning garden tools and equipment.

All these tools are irreplaceable when it comes to gardening. Without them, you can’t take proper care of your plants. And now that you know what utensils you need, let’s move on to the next topic and figure out what we can grow in our garden using common vocabulary for plants.

Garden Plants

You can grow countless fruits, flowers, trees, and other plants in the garden, and it can take days to name them all. Therefore, we’ve decided to group them into smaller categories and provide some examples of the popular things in the garden. Here is what you can see and grow there: 

  • Flowers: marigolds, petunias, daisies, roses, sunflowers, begonias, calendulas, etc. 
  • Vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, etc. 
  • Herbs: basil, thyme, mint, rosemary, parsley, etc. 
  • Trees: cherries, apples, pears, peaches, plums, etc. 
  • Succulents: aloe vera, cacti.

Some of these terms look complex and hard to pronounce for non-native speakers, but don’t let it scare you! Just imagine how beautiful your garden will look with all these plants and trees. And now, it is time to learn some gardening processes you need to successfully grow all these greens. 

Verbs for Gardening

If you are at the beginning of your language-learning or plant-growing journey, you probably think that gardening verbs are terrifically hard. But don’t worry – they are not! Moreover, you’ve probably heard and used some of them in your daily conversations. Take a look at our list of the most common words about gardening techniques and processes. 

  • To plant – to put a seed or seedling into the ground or a container.
  • To water – to provide moisture to plants, either by hand or through a sprinkler or irrigation system.
  • To weed – to remove unwanted plants or weeds from a garden bed.
  • To prune – to trim or remove parts of a plant, often for shaping or encouraging healthy growth.
  • To harvest – to pick fruits, vegetables, or herbs when they are ripe and ready to be eaten.
  • To fertilize – to add nutrients to the soil to help plants grow healthy and strong.
  • To mulch – to cover the soil around plants with a layer of organic material, such as leaves or straw, to help retain moisture and control weeds.
  • To transplant – to move a plant from one location to another, either within a garden or to a new garden altogether.
  • To compost – to create a mixture of organic materials, such as food scraps and yard waste, to add to the garden soil as a natural fertilizer.
  • To deadhead – to remove dead or faded flowers from a plant to encourage more blooms.

As you can see, all these verbs are pretty easy to understand and memorize, even for unprepared students and gardeners. And with that being said, we are thrilled to say – now you are not only ready to create your own garden but also proudly discuss it with native speakers. 


Master Garden Vocabulary With Promova

Today we’ve provided you with some basic terms related to gardening. But if you want to dive deeper into this or any other topic in English, we recommend you to visit Promova. This language-learning platform has plenty of things to offer, so you can choose the one that suits you best. But what exactly can you expect?

Let’s start with the most popular options. If you think that you need some professional help in your studying, you can seek it from our team of experienced tutors. They will create a plan based on your fluency level and studying preferences to make your learning process as exciting and productive as possible. You can join personal or group lessons, and if you want to give it a try before commitment, you can sign up for a free trial. 

Promova also has many surprises for those who prefer studying on their own. For example, our free Conversation Club is the best place to practice speaking skills with people from all over the world and discuss dozens of interesting topics. And our modern application is the best way to study on the go – you can install it on your device from the App Store or Google Play and access tons of useful materials. Join Promova today, and take the first step towards fluency!


As you can see, gardening is a fulfilling activity with dozens of benefits. Moreover, it is a great ice-breaker and a great thing to discuss with both friends and strangers. Therefore, knowing basic gardening vocabulary words can be really important, even if you are not planning to grow your own plants. We hope that this article was useful for you. And we are excited to hear from you in the comments. Tell us about the types of gardens you like (if you are interested, our favorites are flowers and Japanese gardens). 


How does learning garden-related words benefit English learners?

Learning such a vocabulary can be a fun and practical way to enhance your English skills, providing several benefits. First, it is a great way to expand your vocabulary, learn new terms and techniques, and broaden your mind in general. Also, it is a universal topic that can be used as an ice-breaker for a conversation. Finally, for those who are interested in gardening in general, it is a perfect way to engage in conversations with fellow gardeners, understand difficult techniques and instructions, etc.

What are some creative ways to memorize gardening terms?

Our favorite techniques to memorize any gardening word include visualization, associations, and doing simple gardening activities. For example, if you want to remember the difference between a spade and a trowel, imagine yourself using both tools in the garden. And if you need to learn the names of different herbs, you can try to plant them by yourself. This way, you will memorize them by doing a gardening activity, and you will also have many tasty greens in your backyard. 

What is the difference between a regular and a Japanese garden?

A regular or Western garden is typically created for visual appeal and often features symmetrical designs, manicured lawns, and a variety of flowering plants. The focus is on the overall aesthetics of the garden. In contrast, a Japanese garden is designed to create a tranquil and meditative space, often featuring elements such as rocks, sand, water, and carefully pruned trees and bushes. Japanese gardens aim to capture the essence of nature.

Are there any popular gardening idioms in English?

There are plenty of them! For example, the famous saying “to beat around the bush” relates to the garden. Still, its definition is more casual – it means avoiding getting to the main point of the conversation. Other garden-related idioms include: to bark up the wrong tree, to feel bushed, to grow like a weed, etc.