Now that spring has finally arrived, it’s time to turn our thoughts to the seasons ahead. Will you be gazing at a flower garden or harvesting crops this year? If so, it’s time to get started.
Of course, even this most wholesome of outdoor activities can be dressed up with a little technology. Here’s a selection of apps that will save you paper, time, and a pile of reference material, and may just make your gardening or landscaping project a little more fun.
Dirr’s Tree and Shrub Finder
If you’re landscaping on a large scale, Dirr’s is the ultimate reference. It’s based on Michael Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants and provides an incredibly thorough database of trees, shrubs, vines and more. You can filter by 72 criteria, so finding the right plants for your climate should be a breeze. The price is a bit steep, but it’s one of the best references available for amateur and professional landscapers alike.
App Link: $14.99
This one’s for the social gardener, tying in to MyGarden.org. The site’s a bit quiet still, but it’s a growing resource for keeping in touch and learning from other gardeners around the world. You can also fill out a garden profile to get an automatic to-do list of all the tasks your garden will need on a month to month basis. It’s easy to imagine the resources will improve as the site matures, but right now it’s a great place to ask tough gardening questions on the go.
App Link: Free
Eden Garden Designer
Want a glimpse of the future? Eden Garden Designer lets you see what your garden could look like with a little love. You can play with one of the app’s built-in gardens or take a photo of your own, then drag and drop all manner of plants and features. They’re organized by blooming season, zone, type and more, so you can stick with realistic plants or make your ultimate fantasy garden. It might be a bit of a stretch to use this app for realistic planning, but it’s a great start if you want to get a sense for the size, color and types of plants you might want to consider.
App Link: $1.99
If you need a general resource, Landscaper’s Companion is a decent reference for many types of plants. With a database of over 20,000 plants and a well-designed search algorithm, it’s great as a quick reference for basic information and images. You can also track notes and favorites to save a little time in the future.
App Link: $5.99
The vegetable gardeners among us should find this app to their liking. It contains info about a good selection of common vegetables, plant diseases and pests, but that’s not its best feature. Instead, it’s great for keeping tabs on your vegetable garden. You can customize nearly every step of the process, adding your own plants, photos, descriptions and dates. You can even keep a shopping list. This is also a great app for the prolific gardener, since it can track more than one garden at a time.
App Link: $9.99
Organic Gardening Planting Planner
The first step to a successful garden is knowing when to plant. This app, from the creators of Organic Gardening Magazine, tracks your location and lets you know when to get started. You’ll get the heads up on whether a plant is recommended for your area, what dates are the best for planting, whether you should sow indoors or out, and all sorts of other details. The app itself is a bit finicky, but when it works, it’s a handy resource that cuts down on guesswork and careful calculations.
App Link: Free
There is a bit of a dearth of decent garden layout apps on iPhone. Garden Tracker is one of the better ones. It will allow you to customize garden grids of up to 50 x 50 squares with preloaded vegetables or custom plants. Garden Tracker also contains logging information and some reference material, but the real draw is its planning tools.
App Link: $0.99
If you’re looking for an easy, layman-friendly reference for flowers, you might want to start here. Flowerpedia isn’t meant for the serious botanist, but if you’re looking for basics you won’t be disappointed. The app simply aims to help people identify and enjoy flowers. Want to know the name of that gorgeous flower in your neighbor’s garden but don’t want to ask? Flowerpedia can help you track it down. You can also save the location of flowers you find for your own reference or to share with the larger community.
App Links: $4.99
Gardening How To
Not only is this a great national magazine for gardeners that’s been a trusted resource for thousands, it’s also a pretty snazzy iPad app. The magazine has been enhanced with all the digital content you could ask for, including videos, interactive maps, tips and tricks and other fancy features. It’s also filled with bright photos and great articles. The only down side? It doesn’t seem to be available outside of the U.S.
App Link: Free
Garden Plan Pro
While there aren’t many good choices for planning your garden plot or landscaping project on iPhone, iPad users are far luckier. Garden Plan Pro is a powerful tool for laying out your growing areas, planning your planting and preparing for the future. Plots can be created to scale, and shapes can be customized, rotated and altered at will. You can make use of the apps built-in plant selection or create your own, with all the relevant details. It even gives you the information you’ll need to rotate crops, if that’s something that concerns you. Garden Plan Pro is one of the best gardening tools you’ll find on iOS, so it’s well worth the premium price.
App Link: $9.99
Are there any other gardening or landscaping apps for iPhone or iPad that you consider absolutely essential? Let us know in the comments.