‘Growing’ your business

A crop of tomatoesStrawberry plants bearing fruit

Did you know, when we talk about business, we use a lot of idioms connected with gardening and growing?

How many garden and growing idioms can you find in these short conversations? Can you guess what they mean?

Listen to each conversation then try the exercise. The transcripts and answers are at the bottom of the page.


How many garden and growing idioms do you hear?

Money for advertising

The new contract

The interviews

Office closure


Can you match the idioms to their meanings?

1 plough money into a  to produce a result (especially after a long period of hard work)
2 perennial problem b  to separate out (a smaller group from a larger group / people who are less suitable from those who are more suitable)
3 bear fruit c  to go into a different direction/ business area
4 dig out d  to put (a lot of) time/money into a project
5 a crop of e  to result from
6 weed out f  to find something you have not used or seen for a long time
7 stem from g a group of people who achieve something or become known for something at the same time (eg graduates)
8 branch out  h  something which always exists, never seems to change

Transcripts and answers

WeedsCrop of applesa spade

Money for advertising

A: How was the meeting?

B: Well, the Board want to plough more money into advertising, but I think we should be spending it on getting the products right first!

A: Hmm, I know what you mean. It’s a perennial problem:  increase advertising without having any new products or develop new products but lack the budget to promote them!


The new contract

A:  Did you hear we got the Strathco contract?

B: That’s great – all that hard work has finally borne fruit.

A: Yes, I’ll have to go back and dig out the research I did right at the beginning  of the process – over a year ago!


The interviews

A: Have you finished all the interviews?

B: Yes, just did the last few this morning – there’s a really strong crop of graduates this year, so we’ve got lots of good candidates.

A: That’s good to hear –how many are we taking?

B: Only 10, so I’ve now got the difficult job of weeding out the less suitable ones.


Office closure

A: Have you heard they’re closing the Leicester office?

B: Yes – their results have been pretty bad for the last couple of years, haven’t they?

A: Yeah, I think it all stems from relying on one or two big clients and when they lost those contracts….

B: You’re right – we should make sure that doesn’t happen here.

A: Yes but we could also branch out into other areas of business …….



1d 2h 3a 4f 5g 6b 7e 8c


By Joy


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