Horticulture has been defined as the culture of plants for food, comfort and beauty. A more precise definition can be given as "The cultivation, processing, and sale of fruits, nuts, vegetables, ornamental plants, and flowers as well as many additional services". It also includes plant conservation, landscape restoration, soil management, landscape and garden design, construction, and maintenance, and arboriculture. In contrast to agriculture, horticulture does not include large-scale crop production or animal husbandry.
Horticulturists apply their knowledge, skills, and technologies used to grow intensively produced plants for human food and non-food uses and for personal or social needs. Their work involves plant propagation and cultivation with the aim of improving plant growth, yields, quality, nutritional value, and resistance to insects, diseases, and environmental stresses. They work as gardeners, growers, therapists, designers, and technical advisors in the food and non-food sectors of horticulture. Horticulture even refers to the growing of plants in a field or garden.
The word horticulture is modeled after agriculture, and comes from the Latin hortus "garden" and cultūra "cultivation", from cultus, the perfect passive participle of the verb colō "I cultivate". Hortus is cognate with the native English word yard (in the meaning of land associated with a building) and also the borrowed word garden.
The major areas of Horticulture include:
Horticulture has a very long history. The study and science of horticulture dates all the way back to the times of Cyrus the Great of ancient Persia, and has been going on ever since, with present-day horticulturists such as Freeman S. Howlett and Luther Burbank. The practice of horticulture can be retraced for many thousands of years. The cultivation of taro and yam in Papua New Guinea dates back to at least 6950–6440 cal BP. The origins of horticulture lie in the transition of human communities from nomadic hunter-gatherers to sedentary or semi-sedentary horticultural communities, cultivating a variety of crops on a small scale around their dwellings or in specialized plots visited occasionally during migrations from one area to the next (such as the "milpa" or maize field of Mesoamerican cultures). In the Pre-Columbian Amazon Rainforest, natives are believed to have used biochar to enhance soil productivity by smoldering plant waste. European settlers called it Terra Preta de Indio. In forest areas such horticulture is often carried out in swiddens ("slash and burn" areas). A characteristic of horticultural communities is that useful trees are often to be found planted around communities or specially retained from the natural ecosystem.
Horticulture primarily differs from agriculture in two ways. First, it generally encompasses a smaller scale of cultivation, using small plots of mixed crops rather than large fields of single crops. Secondly, horticultural cultivations generally include a wide variety of crops, even including fruit trees with ground crops. Agricultural cultivations however as a rule focus on one primary crop. In pre-contact North America the semi-sedentary horticultural communities of the Eastern Woodlands (growing maize, squash and sunflower) contrasted markedly with the mobile hunter-gatherer communities of the Plains people. In Central America, Maya horticulture involved augmentation of the forest with useful trees such as papaya, avocado, cacao, ceiba and sapodilla. In the cornfields, multiple crops were grown such as beans (using cornstalks as supports), squash, pumpkins and chilli peppers, in some cultures tended mainly or exclusively by women.
Since 1804 The Royal Horticultural Society, a UK charity, leads on the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture in all its branches and shares this knowledge through its community and learning programmes, world class gardens and shows. The oldest Horticultural society in the world, founded in 1768, is the Ancient Society of York Florists. They still have four shows a year in York, UK.
The professional body representing horticulturists in Great Britain and Ireland is the Institute of Horticulture (IOH). Also, the IOH has an international branch for members outside of these islands.
The International Society for Horticultural Science promotes and encourages research and education in all branches of horticultural science.
The American Society of Horticultural Science promotes and encourages research and education in all branches of horticultural science in the Americas.
The National Junior Horticultural Association (NJHA) was established in 1934 and was the first organisation in the world dedicated solely to youth and horticulture. NJHA programs are designed to help young people obtain a basic understanding of, and develop skills in, the ever-expanding art and science of horticulture.
The New Zealand Horticulture Institute.
The Global Horticulture Initiative (GlobalHort) fosters more efficient and effective partnerships and collective action among different stakeholders in horticulture. The organisation has a special focus on horticulture for development (H4D), i.e. using horticulture to reduce poverty and improve nutrition worldwide. To be efficient, GlobalHort is organised in a consortium of national and international organisations to collaborate in research, training, and technology-generating activities designed to meet mutually-agreed-upon objectives. GlobalHort is a not-for-profit organisation registered in Belgium.
Alata Research Institute of Horticulture (Turkish: Alata Bahçe Kültürleri Araştırma Enstitüsü) is a research institute for horticulture in Mersin Province, Turkey.Annual plant
An annual plant is a plant that completes its life cycle, from germination to the production of seeds, within one year, and then dies. Summer annuals germinate during spring or early summer and mature by autumn of the same year. Winter annuals germinate during the autumn and mature during the spring or summer of the following calendar year.One seed-to-seed life cycle for an annual can occur in as little as a month in some species, though most last several months. Oilseed rapa can go from seed-to-seed in about five weeks under a bank of fluorescent lamps. This style of growing is often used in classrooms for education. Many desert annuals are therophytes, because their seed-to-seed life cycle is only weeks and they spend most of the year as seeds to survive dry conditions.Coir
Coir (), or coconut fibre, is a natural fibre extracted from the husk of coconut and used in products such as floor mats, doormats, brushes and mattresses. Coir is the fibrous material found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. Other uses of brown coir (made from ripe coconut) are in upholstery padding, sacking and horticulture. White coir, harvested from unripe coconuts, is used for making finer brushes, string, rope and fishing nets. It has the advantage of not sinking, so can be used in long lengths on deep water without the added weight dragging down boats and buoys.College of Horticulture
The College of Horticulture, is a constituent college of Kerala Agricultural University, situated in Thrissur of Kerala state in India. The College of Horticulture imparts agricultural education at undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. The college has 20 departments and 7 centres undertaking the multiple activities of teaching, research and extension. The college is located in the picturesque central campus of Kerala Agricultural University in Vellanikkara, Thrissur. The college received the Sardar Patel Outstanding Institution Award in the year 2003 awarded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. Dr. George Thomas , Professor is the current Associate Dean of the CollegeContainer garden
Container gardening or pot gardening is the practice of growing plants, including edible plants, exclusively in containers instead of planting them in the ground.
A container in gardening is a small, enclosed and usually portable object used for displaying live flowers or plants. It may take the form of a pot, box, tub, pot, basket, tin, barrel or hanging basket.Crop
A crop is a plant or animal product that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence. Crop may refer either to the harvested parts or to the harvest in a more refined state. Most crops are cultivated in agriculture or aquaculture. A crop is usually expanded to include macroscopic fungus (e.g. mushrooms), or alga (algaculture).
Most crops are harvested as food for humans or fodder for livestock. Some crops are gathered from the wild (including intensive gathering, e.g. ginseng).
Important non-food crops include horticulture, floriculture and industrial crops. Horticulture crops include plants used for other crops (e.g. fruit trees). Floriculture crops include bedding plants, houseplants, flowering garden and pot plants, cut cultivated greens, and cut flowers. Industrial crops are produced for clothing (fiber crops), biofuel (energy crops, algae fuel), or medicine (medicinal plants).Cutting (plant)
A plant cutting is a piece of a plant that is used in horticulture for vegetative (asexual) propagation. A piece of the stem or root of the source plant is placed in a suitable medium such as moist soil. If the conditions are suitable, the plant piece will begin to grow as a new plant independent of the parent, a process known as striking. A stem cutting produces new roots, and a root cutting produces new stems. Some plants can be grown from leaf pieces, called leaf cuttings, which produce both stems and roots. The scions used in grafting are also called cuttings.Propagating plants from cuttings is an ancient form of cloning. There are several advantages of cuttings, mainly that the produced offspring are practically clones of their parent plants. If a plant has favorable traits, it can continue to pass down its advantageous genetic information to its offspring. This is especially economically advantageous as it allows commercial growers to clone a certain plant to ensure consistency throughout their crops.The poet Theodore Roethke wrote about plant cuttings and root growth behavior in his poems "Cuttings" and "Cuttings (Later)" found in his book The Lost Son: And Other Poems.Decoction
Decoction is a method of extraction by boiling herbal or plant material to dissolve the chemicals of the material, which may include stems, roots, bark and rhizomes. Decoction involves first mashing the plant material to allow for maximum dissolution, and then boiling in water to extract oils, volatile organic compounds and other various chemical substances. Decoction can be used to make herbal teas, leaf teas, coffees, tinctures and similar solutions. Decoctions and infusions may produce liquids with differing chemical properties as the temperature and/or preparation difference may result in more oil-soluble chemicals in decoctions versus infusions. The process can also be applied to meats and vegetables to prepare bouillon or stock,
though the term is typically only used to describe boiled plant extracts, usually for medicinal or scientific purposes.
Decoction is also the name for the resulting liquid. Although this method of extraction differs from infusion and percolation, the resultant liquids can sometimes be similar in their effects, or general appearance and taste.Floriculture
Floriculture, or flower farming, is a discipline of horticulture concerned with the cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants for gardens and for floristry, comprising the floral industry. The development, via plant breeding, of new varieties is a major occupation of floriculturists.
Floriculture crops include bedding plants, houseplants, flowering garden and pot plants, cut cultivated greens, and cut flowers. As distinguished from nursery crops, floriculture crops are generally herbaceous. Bedding and garden plants consist of young flowering plants (annuals and perennials) and vegetable plants. They are grown in cell packs (in flats or trays), in pots, or in hanging baskets, usually inside a controlled environment, and sold largely for gardens and landscaping. Pelargonium ("geraniums"), Impatiens ("busy lizzies"), and Petunia are the best-selling bedding plants. The many cultivars of Chrysanthemum are the major perennial garden plant in the United States.
Flowering plants are largely sold in pots for indoor use. The major flowering plants are poinsettias, orchids, florist chrysanthemums, and finished florist azaleas. Foliage plants are also sold in pots and hanging baskets for indoor and patio use, including larger specimens for office, hotel, and restaurant interiors.
Cut flowers are usually sold in bunches or as bouquets with cut foliage. The production of cut flowers is specifically known as the cut flower industry. Farming flowers and foliage employs special aspects of floriculture, such as spacing, training and pruning plants for optimal flower harvest; and post-harvest treatment such as chemical treatments, storage, preservation and packaging. In Australia and the United States some species are harvested from the wild for the cut flower market.Hardiness (plants)
Hardiness of plants describes their ability to survive adverse growing conditions. It is usually limited to discussions of climatic adversity. Thus a plant's ability to tolerate cold, heat, drought, flooding, or wind are typically considered measurements of hardiness. Hardiness of plants is defined by their native extent's geographic location: longitude, latitude and elevation. These attributes are often simplified to a hardiness zone. In temperate latitudes, the term most often describes resistance to cold, or "cold-hardiness", and is generally measured by the lowest temperature a plant can withstand. Hardiness of a plant is usually divided into two categories: tender, and hardy. Some sources also use the erroneous terms "Half-hardy" or "Fully hardy". Tender plants are those killed by freezing temperatures, while hardy plants survive freezing—at least down to certain temperatures, depending on the plant. "Half-hardy" is a term used sometimes in horticulture to describe bedding plants which are sown in heat in winter or early spring, and planted outside after all danger of frost has passed. "Fully hardy" usually refers to plants being classified under the Royal Horticultural Society classifications, and can often cause confusion to those not using this method.Plants vary a lot in their tolerance of growing conditions. The selective breeding of varieties capable of withstanding particular climates forms an important part of agriculture and horticulture. Plants adapt to changes in climate on their own to some extent. Part of the work of nursery growers of plants consists of cold hardening, or hardening off their plants, to prepare them for likely conditions in later life.Landscape design
Landscape design is an independent profession and a design and art tradition, practised by landscape designers, combining nature and culture. In contemporary practice, landscape design bridges the space between landscape architecture and garden design.Organic horticulture
Organic horticulture is the science and art of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers, or ornamental plants by following the essential principles of organic agriculture in soil building and conservation, pest management, and heirloom variety preservation.
The Latin words hortus (garden plant) and cultura (culture) together form horticulture, classically defined as the culture or growing of garden plants. Horticulture is also sometimes defined simply as “agriculture minus the plough.” Instead of the plough, horticulture makes use of human labour and gardener’s hand tools, although some small machine tools like rotary tillers are commonly employed now.Parterre
A parterre is a formal garden constructed on a level substrate, consisting of plant beds, typically in symmetrical patterns, which are separated and connected by paths. The borders of the plant beds may be formed with stone or tightly pruned hedging, and their interiors may be planted with flowers or other plants or filled with mulch or gravel. The paths are constituted with gravel or turf grass.
French parterres originated in the gardens of the French Renaissance of the 15th century and often had the form of knot gardens. Later, in the 17th century Baroque garden, they became more elaborate and stylised. The French parterre reached its greatest development at the Palace of Versailles, which inspired many similar parterres throughout Europe.Plants for a Future
Plants For A Future (PFAF) is an online not for profit resource for those interested in edible and useful plants, with a focus on temperate regions. The project currently has a site in the South West of England where many of the plants are being grown on a trial basis, and maintains a small mail order catalogue. The organization's emphasis is on perennial plants.
PFAF is a registered educational charity with strong ethical principals and the following objectives:
The Charity’s objectives are to advance the education of the public by the promotion of all aspects of ecologically sustainable vegan-organic horticulture and agriculture with an emphasis on tree, shrub and other perennial species; and the undertaking of research into such horticulture and agriculture, and dissemination of the results of such research.
The website contains an online database of over 7000 plants that can be grown in the UK; the data is created/collated by Ken Fern, and can be either used online free of charge, or downloaded for a small sum.Rootstock
A rootstock is part of a plant, often an underground part, from which new above-ground growth can be produced. It could also be described as a stem with a well developed root system, to which a bud from another plant is grafted. It can refer to a rhizome or underground stem. In grafting, it refers to a plant, sometimes just a stump, which already has an established, healthy root system, onto which a cutting or a bud from another plant is grafted. In some cases, such as vines of grapes and other berries, cuttings may be used for rootstocks, the roots being established in nursery conditions before planting them out. The plant part grafted onto the rootstock is usually called the scion. The scion is the plant that has the properties that propagator desires above ground, including the photosynthetic activity and the fruit or decorative properties. The rootstock is selected for its interaction with the soil, providing the roots and the stem to support the new plant, obtaining the necessary soil water and minerals, and resisting the relevant pests and diseases. After a few weeks the tissues of the two parts will have grown together, eventually forming a single plant. After some years it may be difficult to detect the site of the graft although the product always contains the components of two genetically different plants.
The use of rootstocks is most commonly associated with fruiting plants and trees, and is useful for mass propagating many other types of plants that do not breed true from seed, or are particularly susceptible to disease when grown on their own roots.
Although grafting has been practiced for many hundreds of years, even in Roman times, most orchard rootstocks in current use were developed in the 20th century.A variety of rootstocks may be used for a single species or cultivar of scion because different rootstocks impart different properties, such as vigour, fruit size and precocity. Rootstocks also may be selected for traits such as resistance to drought, root pests, and diseases. Grapevines for commercial planting are most often grafted onto rootstocks to avoid damage by phylloxera, though vines available for sale to back garden viticulturists may not be.
The rootstock may be a different species from the scion, but as a rule it should be closely related, for example, many commercial pears are grown on quince rootstock. Grafting can also be done in stages; a closely related scion is grafted to the rootstock, and a less closely related scion is grafted to the first scion. Serial grafting of several scions may also be used to produce a tree that bears several different fruit cultivars, with the same rootstock taking up and distributes water and minerals to the whole system. Those with more than three varieties are known as 'family trees'.
When it is difficult to match a plant to the soil in a certain field or orchard, growers may graft a scion onto a rootstock that is compatible with the soil. It may then be convenient to plant a range of ungrafted rootstocks to see which suit the growing conditions best; the fruiting characteristics of the scion may be considered later, once the most successful rootstock has been identified. Rootstocks are studied extensively and often are sold with a complete guide to their ideal soil and climate. Growers determine the pH, mineral content, nematode population, salinity, water availability, pathogen load and sandiness of their particular soil, and select a rootstock which is matched to it. Genetic testing is increasingly common, and new cultivars of rootstock are always being developed.Royal Horticultural Society
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), founded in 1804 as the Horticultural Society of London, is the UK's leading gardening charity.The RHS promotes horticulture through flower shows including the Chelsea Flower Show, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Tatton Park Flower Show and Cardiff Flower Show. It also supports training for professional and amateur gardeners. The current president is Sir Nicholas Bacon, 14th Baronet and the current director general is Sue Biggs CBE.Square foot gardening
Square foot gardening is the practice of dividing the growing area into small square sections (typically 1 foot on a side, hence the name). The aim is to assist the planning and creating of a small but intensively planted vegetable garden. It results in a simple and orderly gardening system, from which it draws much of its appeal. Mel Bartholomew coined the term "square foot gardening" in his 1981 book of the same name.Tropical horticulture
Tropical horticulture is a branch of horticulture that studies and cultivates plants in the tropics, i.e., the equatorial regions of the world. The field is sometimes known by the portmanteau "TropHort".
Tropical horticulture includes plants such as perennial woody plants (arboriculture), ornamentals (floriculture), vegetables (olericulture), and fruits (pomology) including grapes (viticulture). The origin of many of these crops is not in the tropics but in temperate zones. Their adoption to tropical climatic conditions is an objective of breeding. Many important crops, however, are indigenous to the tropics. The latter embrace perennial crops such as oil palm, vegetables including okra, field crops such as rice and sugarcane, and particularly fruits including pineapple, banana, papaya, and mango.
Since the tropics represent 36 percent of the earth's surface and 20 percent of its land surface, the potential of tropical horticulture is huge. In contrast to temperate regions, environmental conditions in the tropics are defined less by seasonal temperature fluctuations and more by seasonality of precipitation. Thus the climate in the greater part of the tropics is characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons, although such variation is reduced in locations closer to the equator (±5° latitude). Temperature conditions in the tropics are affected by elevation, in which contrasting warmer and colder climate areas in the tropics can be differentiated, and highland areas in the tropics can consequently be more favourable for production of temperate plant species than are lowland areas.Urban horticulture
Horticulture is the science and art of growing fruits and vegetables and also flowers or ornamental plants.Urban horticulture specifically is the study of the relationship between plants and the urban environment. It focuses on the functional use of horticulture so as to maintain and improve the surrounding urban area. With the expansion of cities and rapid urbanization, this field of study is large and complex and its study has only recently gained momentum. It has an undeniable relationship to production horticulture in that fruits, vegetables and other plants are grown for harvest, aesthetic, architectural, recreational and psychological purposes, but it extends far beyond these benefits. The value of plants in the urban environment has yet to be thoroughly researched or quantified.
Horticulture and gardening
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