Gardening Apps Review

Helloooooo, minions! :)

This is a little out of my normal format, but I’ve been discovering some nifty new smartphone apps lately and thought it would be nice to share. Plus, I’ve been getting distracted lately, configuring and reconfiguring my other blog, and really need to get something rolling over here!

I have an Android phone, so all these apps I’m writing about are gonna be for non-iPhones. Andoid’s App Market passed Apple’s App Store in volume of offerings last year, but I’m sure Apple has some similar apps out there. If you poke around you’ll likely find something! Actually, I did have a favorite local app when I carried an iPod, one that has not yet surfaced on Android – it was a Golden Gate Park app that had plant and animal ID and maps in it. Ooooh, crackaliscious. Anyhoo, the links here will take you to the respective page in the Market…

On to the Android apps!

First off is the Plants app. I’ve just started exploring this one, but basically it strives to be a list of all plants (not unlike The Plant List online.) You can browse by family/genus/species, botanical or common names, state, and link directly to the USDA plant database from each listing. It has WAY more listings than I was expecting it to have. Much more thorough than I’d even hoped. Pretty nifty. What a great tool! Five stars in my book.

Similarly, Guide to Houseplants wants to be a list of all things houseplanty. Eh. Better if you already know what your plant is, and you have to know the common name. I’m bad with common names of plants, but it’s been a fun browse. Looks like some good care instructions to be found, and pest/disease diagnosis points that are valid and reliable. So far I’ll give it three stars.

The CalParks app is what got me searching for new apps in the first place. If you live in (or visit) California, and are an aficionado of the parks, this is a MUST-have! So awesome. You can gps-search for the nearest state parks. You can browse parks by region, city, or alphabetically. You can navigate trails with the maps it provides. It has pix and points of interest for each park. You can upload your experience directly to Facebook or Twitter. Yesssssss. SO five stars!

It isn’t specifically about plants, but the US Army Survival Guide (complete, no less!) is still a great app! Of planty interest is Chapter 9, Survival Use of Plants. It even has links to images of the plants they describe for better chance of selecting the right plant. Nice. Totally five star quality.

Lastly, my favey-fave. It’s called SF Trees. Yes, it’s San Francisco-centric, but then so am I. :) With this one, you can walk up to a tree anywhere in SF and open your app. As long as your gps is enabled, the app will (accurately!) tell you what tree you’re standing in front of. Whoa! Botanical and common names, and a bit of info about the trees. Its inventory consists of over 60,000 trees within SF, so it’s a sizable database, and it’s growing. It looks like they’ve begun the inventory with city-planted trees and larger established trees. For example, my block has about 25 trees, but only the eight bigger ones are shown (none of the smaller ones planted in the past five years.) Hopefully it’ll get super “comprehensiver” over time. Still warrants five stars in my book!

Anybody else have any favorite apps? I’d love to hear what other plant apps are being used, and what people think about them… And names of equivalent Apple apps!

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