Mid-winter is generally a time for trend predicting, seed talk, and other speculative matter in the gardening press. Much of the country is still huddled around the fire, so there’s not much call for cultivation or maintenance advice.
Pity the poor garden columnist at this time. If it were me, I’d be all about the houseplants, but I don’t see too much houseplant talk. What I do see is talk of planning, trends, early shrub pruning, and … apps.
There were no apps when I started gardening. If there were, I think I might have used them, particularly those that list and recommend specific plants for specific purposes, like Allan Armitage’s Greatest Garden Plants. Apps didn’t exist though, so I read books, lots of books on the best perennials for mainly shady situations and other books on how to maintain them once you’ve chosen them. Probably one of those was by Armitage.
In addition to plant selection apps, there are apps, like iScape Landscape Designs, that help you plan your garden by creating virtual plant beds that can be arranged over photos of your property. That might have been useful back in ’99. There’s also one, Perennial Match, that shows you what certain plants will look like when placed next to other plants. I’m not sure I would want to second guess myself to that extent.
Then there are the ones I’ve tried, like Leafsnap, which identifies trees from one leaf against a white background. I don’t think I’ve used that more than twice and I really hate the other plant ID apps I’ve tried. Even if they worked, they wouldn’t be helpful in my home garden; I know what plants I have, pretty much. They’re good (or would be, if they were accurate) when on walks, to identify wildflowers and such.
I hope that beginning gardeners are looking into these apps, as some do look relevant for garden start-ups. Though I wonder if they will, as most come with price tags, and we’ve been spoiled by all the free apps that already clutter our devices. I don’t use most of mine. Do you use all yours?
These are my gardening apps: weather, camera, social media, search engine. I don’t see that changing.