Plants
Do you know a lot about plants? Have you ever had a plant? Would you give a plant as a present? Do you know how to cultivate plants?
Vocabulary
  • To die on somebody (idiom) — to die under the care of someone.
  • Nerdy (adj.) — a person who is extremely interested in one subject, especially computers, and knows a lot of facts about it.
  • Shed (noun) — a simple roofed structure used for garden storage, to shelter animals, or as a workshop.
  • To water (verb) — to pour or sprinkle water over (a plant or area) in order to encourage plant growth.
  • Soil (noun) — the substance on the surface of the Earth in which plants grow.
  • Irresponsible (adj.) — (of a person, attitude, or action) not showing a proper sense of responsibility.
  • Spiky (adj.) — having many spikes or sharp projecting points.
  • Calming (adj.) — if something is calming, it make someone feel less worried about something.
  • Decorative (adj.) — intended to look attractive rather than be useful.
  • Patch (noun) — a piece of ground, especially one where you grow fruit or vegetables, or where a particular plant grows.
  • Decking (noun) — a wooden floor that is built outside a house or in a garden.
  • Umbrella term (noun) — a term used to cover a broad category of things rather than a single specific item.
  • Windowsill (noun) — a shelf under a window.
  • To have green fingers (idiom) — to be good at gardening and making plants grow well.
  • To live something down (phrasal verb) — succeed in making others forget something embarrassing that has happened.
Questions and answers
Maria: Rory, do you like plants?

Rory: Ooh, naturally! We need them to live. And they’re very beautiful and quite relaxing to look at.

Maria: Do you know a lot about plants?

Rory: I know they make oxygen via photosynthesis, but I think that is about all… Oh, no, I know a lot from high school, actually. So, for example, plants make oxygen through photosynthesis. And they are green because they have chlorophyll in their leaves. This is like the color of the chemical that is inside of them. And if I’m right, the chlorophyll is produced by chloroplasts. These are like small organs inside the cells of the plant. So actually thinking about it, I know a little bit about it, but I wouldn’t say I’m like a botanist or anything.

Maria: Wow. That was nerdy.

Rory: It was. I have many nerdy moments.

Maria: Have you ever had a plant?

Rory: I tried to have a plant once when I was in my 20s, and it did not work well for me or the plants and it kind of…

Maria: Did you kill it?

Rory: Yeah, it turned brown and I think it died.

Maria: Plant murderer!

Rory: But I didn’t mean to. I was just a very irresponsible 20 year old!

Maria: It just died on you! So do you have a reputation for being a plant killer?

Rory: Well, no. If I kept trying, I think I would have this reputation. But now, no. I. I’ve learned my lesson.

Maria: Good for you, not so good for the plant.

Rory: Yes.

Maria: Would you give a plant as a present?

Rory: Oh, I have given the plants as a present. Actually, I gave one to my colleague Daniel. I bought him a cactus because I thought that that symbolized our relationship quite nicely, because it’s spiky, but quite nice.

Maria: Did it have a flower?

Rory: It had many flowers, actually!

Maria: Which represent you or Daniel or both of you together?

Rory: I think it represents our friendship. It’s beautiful. But again, spiky.

Maria: Daniel, if you’re listening. It’s very cute. Maria: Why do people like plants in the house?

Rory: I suppose it’s because plants are quite calming. You look at them and you feel relaxed. They’re also very decorative. I think it’s almost like you’re inviting nature into your home. It’s really cool. I like houses with lots of plants. As long as they’re looked after… if you go into a house with lots of dead plants, then maybe you feel a bit depressed.

Maria: Do you have a garden?

Rory: I suppose in Russia, no. The closest thing I have to a garden is the patch of land outside my window. But it’s not very nice and it doesn’t belong to me. But back in Scotland, my house has two gardens and we have a back garden and the front garden. The front garden faces the sea and it’s quite big. It’s filled with plants and trees. It’s really nice. And the back garden has decking. So it’s like wooden decking. And we have a small shed out there as well where we entertain people in the summer.

Maria: Do you know how to cultivate plants?

Rory: You pour water on them and you give them soil. Like I say, I’m not much of an expert. I’ve given up trying to work with plants, to be honest with you. It’s just too much effort. I don’t have the time and I don’t think it’s fair on the plants.
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