Gardening A to Z: F

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F1 hybrid
A hybrid strain created by pollinating two very carefully selected parents. The resulting seedlings usually show great vigour and uniformity and many strains of annuals and vegetables are F1 hybrids. It is useless to save seeds from these, as the original cross must be made afresh every time seed is wanted.

A group of genera which are considered to be closely related. The Cacti (family Cactaceae) are one such; the Rose family (Rosaceae) includes not only the Rose but such fruits as the Peach, Blackberry, Strawberry and Apple.

Female (of plants)
Those bearing only female reproductive organs, hence able to bear fruit and seeds. Most flowering plants are in fact bisexual, commonly bearing hermaphrodite flowers.

Fence Crete
Fence-Crete is a privately owned Company initially established in 1974 to supply and erect fencing and to supply and lay concrete.

Popular flavouring for fish, soups, salads and stews.

Any member of the major subgroup of the pteridophytes, plants with well developed stems containing conducting tissues, but lacking the seeds which characterise the gymnosperms and flowering plants. The visible fern plant is asexual, producing minute spores from small patches (sori) on its fronds: the spores germinate in cool, moist places to produce tiny plantlets (the gametophytes) that bear male and female organs, fertilisation requiring water droplets.

Ferns are not usually thought of as garden perennials and yet nature has carpeted her forest floors the world over with ferns.

Anything added to the soil to maintain or increase its fertility. Fertilisers may be organic, that is, derived from once-living matter, as are manure, compost, and blood and bone; or inorganic (artificial), such as Sulphate of Ammonia or Superphosphate, which are prepared in chemical factories. There are a number of effective fertilisers on the market made by companies such as Debco, Tui and Yates.

Fibrous root
A fine, young root, usually one of very many. These are the roots that take up moisture and nourishment from the soil.

The stalk of a stemen, which carries the anther.

A bacterial disease of the Pome-fruit trees and shrubs of family Rosaceae, most feared by Apple and Pear growers but affecting also genera such as Sorbus, Cotoneaster and Crataegus. Its symptoms include shriveled and blackened leaves and oozing patches on the branches and the plant may eventually die.

Fish Food
Worms are suitable for feeding goldfish, other similar sized fish and axalotals.

Fleurs Greenworld
Fleur's Greenworld has just won the "Top Shop" competition that was run for the first time in Masterton. Over 80 shops entered the competition – so well done to Fleur and her team it's a real credit to you – Fleur's Greenworld is a wonderful store which is crammed full of new season's stock – pop in for a visit.

A single, small flower in a head or cluster of many, as in a Delphinium or Cluster-flowered Rose.

The organ of reproduction, basic in determining to what genus and species the plant belongs. They are normally composed of three parts; the Calyx, the Corolla, and the sexual organs Proper, the male Stamens and the female Carpels. Not all may be present in any given flower (Clematis, for instance have no petals), and they may be, as in orchids or cannas, modified into the most fantastic forms.

A cluster of flowers, which may be so compact as to look like a single flower, as in a Daisy.

Plants on which grazing animals browse while still growing, often in the wild and including trees and shrubs as well as grasses and other herbs.

Formal Gardens
Well defined, disciplined and often symmetrical a formal garden can be large or small.

A miniature greenhouse, designed mainly for propagation. The traditional style is an enclosed bed of wood to a height of about 16in (40cm) with an old window across the top. A hot frame is heated.

The leaves of a fern. Fronds carrying spore-bearing organs (Sori) are called ‘fertile’ fronds; if not, they are called ‘sterile’ fronds. In some species the two types are of different appearance. The term frond is also used for the leaves of Feather Palms; the Latin Frondosa when applied to many plants means ‘leafy’.

Specialist Wholesale Fern Nursery based in the Waikato supplying landscapers and garden centres throughout the North Island and exporting throughout the world.

Frost Hardy (of plants)
Able to survive winter frosts without damage to leaves (in the case of evergreens) or of dormant stems, buds or roots (in the case of deciduous plants).

Frost Tender (of plants)
Damaged or killed by even the lightest winter frosts. Many frost tender plants (mostly of tropical origin) may in fact suffer tissue damage when exposed to temperatures well above freezing-point, as high as 10°C in the case of some species.

The part of the plant which carries the seed or seeds, and which arises after the flower is pollinated. It may or may not be edible. See Citrus.

Fruit Fly
A small insect pest that lays its eggs beneath the surface of developing fruits, in particular soft fruits such as peaches and tomatoes. The small, soft larvae develop rapidly and exit the fully ripe fruit via small holes, but not before causing pockets of fermentation and rot in the fruit, thus spoiling it.

Fungal Disease
Any of a great number of diseases of plants caused by a fungal organism.

A very large group of evolutionary primitive plants, of which the most relevant to gardeners are mushrooms and the many parasitic fungi that cause most plant diseases.