Your Smart Phone As A Garden Tool
Your Smart Phone As A Garden Tool
We call them “smart phones” but as most people know, these small computers that we carry in our pockets are far more than a telephone. In addition to keeping us in touch with others, we’ve come to rely on our personal devices for so much more. From having constant access to a camera to being able to research a topic wherever we are, the smart phone has, for many of us, become indispensable. It has also become a very useful plant and garden tool.
Twenty years ago an annual journal was something that many gardeners aspired to keep. We wanted to record the first or last frost, write the names of the varieties of annuals or vegetables we planted, or record when the peonies bloomed. I say “aspired to” since such books often had blank pages. We forgot to note the plants before the tags were thrown out, couldn’t find the book when the first frost hit, or lost interest as life became just too busy.
The smart phone allows you to keep those notes in one place, quickly and easily. You can take a photo of the plants you’re putting in your pots, along with a picture of the tags. Then you can take a shot of the container as those selections grow through the season, so in future years you’ll know which of those plants performed well all summer long. You’ll be able to review which perennials bloomed the longest, or how tall that New England Aster really grew.
If you see a plant in the garden center, and want to know if it’s appropriate for your yard, you can quickly feed the name of that plant into Google along with the appropriate terms such as “size” or “sun or shade.” Right on the spot you’ll have a general idea if that particular shrub or tree would work where you are envisioning placing it.
There are a couple of ways your phone can be a tool for identifying plants. The best is taking a photo of the plant you’ve seen and then showing that picture to someone who can identify it for you. At the garden center, we’re used to people coming in with photos of plants that they need identified. Sometimes these customers have seen a plant in a neighbor’s yard, or by a restaurant they visited, and want to know what it is so that they can buy one for their own garden. Other times we are shown photos of a plant that was seen in other parts of the country, and the question is, “Can I grow this on Cape Cod?”
There are several apps that will identify plants, but know that these are not 100% reliable. Many leaves look alike, for example, especially when taken off the stem or branch. So an app that claims to id a plant based on a single leaf cannot possibly be accurate. Even some flowers are similar to others, so a misidentification is possible. And finally, an app might be able to id a flower by a generic name, but not name the specific variety. So the app might identify that perennial that’s two feet tall as a summer phlox, for example, but it won’t tell you which summer phlox it is. You might end up with a very tall phlox when what you really wanted was the shorter Volcano phlox.
By taking photos in your yard and garden frequently, you’ll be able to travel back in time and remember just how small that tree was five years ago, or how the perennial garden looked when it was initially planted. You’ll be reminded of what the annuals you choose in the past looked like, or how great it was when you filled the large pots with tulips one spring.
It can even be helpful when reminding others just what happened when the hydrangeas got cut back in the past. “Look. This is a picture I took in 2016 when you cut the hydrangeas down because you said they were ‘out of control.’ See? No flowers that summer.” Photographic evidence can sometimes be helpful. 😉
You can, of course, use your smart phone to share the information about great plants, garden designs, or products. Sending photos to your friends or posting them on the social media of your choice is a great way to share the wealth.
We’re thinking about sharing some insider information by text with our customers as well…if you’d be interested in getting a text once-a-week about some new plants that have come in, fill out the form below.
Hyannis Country Garden Insider Information Text GroupBy filling out this form you consent to be part of our 'Insider Information' text group at HCG. Hyannis Country Garden will not sell or share this information - it is for our own communication only.
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