Gardening gets its own wiki


Or rather, the zygote of one.

We all know about wikipedia, the online encyclopedia created by us, the internet using public. Anyone—anyone— can post definitions and descriptions. This, of course, opens the door to plenty of misinformation (or just total fabrication), which can then be taken and used as fact by lazy researchers everywhere. The saving grace is that as wiki has grown, so has the speed with which erroneous information is corrected. Indeed, wikipedia’s legitimacy has become so valued by its many creators that often lively discussions evolve regarding the inclusion or deletion of questionable submissions.

And now, (drumroll) there’s a new addition to the wiki family: Wikigardens.

Wikigardens seems to be in its infancy. We’re talking tabula rasa. There are hundreds of botanical names with no descriptions, or any other details: those are waiting to be supplied by—well, us, in our spare time. The easiest way would be to google them and get the scoop from various online (and reputable) academic sources, and then paste it in. (Right, but then why do we need a wiki? Do botanical definitions need to be regularly updated? And what about all the plant stuff on the original wikipedia? Hmmm.)

Moving on. There is a showcase where users can post images of their gardens (two are up so far), garden forums (four entries), a garden journal (no submissions yet) and a help page where the blanks are still, as yet, unfilled.

Actually, it seems kind of silly to continue describing what’s not on this site. It will never be truly useful until legions of volunteer researchers have filled it up. That’s the nature of wiki. Clearly, we should all oil and store our garden tools, install some no-maintenance plastic greenery, draw the curtains, and start wiki-ing.

In all seriousness, I have to wonder. Should busy gardeners who’d rather have their hands in the soil than on a keyboard spend their time transfering the vast amount of garden information already widely available via the web (and, dare I mention, books) onto this site? Maybe. It might be useful. And I’m sure a lot of people will have fun trying to fill this bottomless well. As for me, I’d rather tiki.

Let me know when it’s done.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regular radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world, and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. Yeah, it looks like a whole lot of work to me! I like the tiki idea better too. I’m assuming that would include some kind of drink with an umbrella in it?

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