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Introduction

Part of a parterre in an English garden

Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants as part of horticulture. In gardens, ornamental plants are often grown for their flowers, foliage, or overall appearance; useful plants, such as root vegetables, leaf vegetables, fruits, and herbs, are grown for consumption, for use as dyes, or for medicinal or cosmetic use. Gardening is considered by many people to be a relaxing activity.

Gardening ranges in scale from fruit orchards, to long boulevard plantings with one or more different types of shrubs, trees, and herbaceous plants, to residential yards including lawns and foundation plantings, to plants in large or small containers grown inside or outside. Gardening may be very specialized, with only one type of plant grown, or involve a large number of different plants in mixed plantings. It involves an active participation in the growing of plants, and tends to be labor-intensive, which differentiates it from farming or forestry.

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Two saffron crocus flowers in Osaka Prefecture, Japan.

Saffron (/ˈsæfrən, -rɒn/) is a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), a species of crocus in the family Iridaceae. The flower has three stigmas, which are the distal ends of the plant's carpels. Together with its style, the stalk connecting the stigmas to the rest of the plant, these components are often dried and used in cooking as a seasoning and colouring agent. Saffron, which has for decades been the world's most expensive spice by weight,[1] is native to Southwest Asia.[2] It was first cultivated in the vicinity of Greece.Saffron is characterised by a bitter taste and an iodoform- or hay-like fragrance; these are caused by the chemicals picrocrocin and safranal. It also contains a carotenoid dye, crocin, that gives food a rich golden-yellow hue. These traits make saffron a much-sought ingredient in many foods worldwide. Saffron also has medicinal applications.The saffron crocus thrives in climates similar to that of the Mediterranean maquis or the North American chaparral, where hot, dry summer breezes blow across arid and semi-arid lands. Nevertheless, the plant can tolerate cold winters, surviving frosts as cold as −10 °C (14 °F) and short periods of snow cover.

Selected image

Bonsai trident maple in the root over rock style.
Credit: USDA photo by Peggy Greb

Part of the Penjing collection at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, this trident maple, Acer buergerianum, has its roots growing over a rock and its foliage and stems trimmed in the shape of a dragon.

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Generally, seed packets labels includes:

  • Common plant name and the botanical name (in parentheses).
  • Space and deep: how deep to place the seeds in the soil, space between plants (from one row to the other one and from one plant to the other one in the same row).
  • Height: approximate height the plant will reach when mature.
  • Soil: type of soil the plant prefers.
  • Water: It can indicate "keep the soil lightly damp", "bottom water the plant", "drench the soil with water", "daily misting of water" and "almost dry out before re-watering".
  • Sun: full direct sunlight, partial sun, diffused sunlight, or grows well in the shade.
  • Door and temperature: if the plant is best suited for growing Indoor, Outdoor or Both.
  • Live: Perennial or annual.
  • Planting, germination and harvest period: a lot of plant are planted in March. This information can be indicated by months or quarters of the year.
  • Special requirements, if necessary.

This information can be represented graphically.

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  1. ^ Rau 1969, p. 53
  2. ^ Grigg 1974, p. 287