|Web Resources for Gardeners
Published in the six Nashoba Publishing papers on Friday, 11 January 2002 [links here were a sidebar there]
Where to research garden information? On the Web! If you don't know where to start, I recommend Google (www.google.com), a search engine that orders the sites it lists by how frequently they're linked to showing how much people have valued them. To find out what that red bug eating my lilies was, I entered "red bug" and "lily" in Google's box.
If you'd like to return to a site, save the URL (also called "address" or "location") of the site. I save them for interesting nurseries. Most big retail outlets have their catalogs on the Web; you can buy straight from the site using a credit card. (Make sure they have a "secure server.") If you have a paper catalog, look for the URL on the cover; or ask Google.
Sites of big public gardens tend to be full of information and fun to browse. In the Brooklyn Botanical Garden's site, QuickTime movies give you 360-degree viewing of twelve areas. At Longwood Gardens' site, I read a report (with lots of photos) about transplanting a 10,100-pound sugar maple by helicopter.
Many online forums and clubs offer discussion with other gardeners; the most useful are the more specialized ones. I belong to the New England Gardening Forum at Gardenweb, and the Yahoo! Organic Gardening Club.
The Web offers many extensive public plant databases. Five years ago I bought a copy of the American Horticultural Society's A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. It lists more than 15000 ornamental plants, has nearly 600 full-color photos and weighs nine pounds. I keep it on my desk and use it often but when I want to see a picture of a plant they don't show, or when I look up a plant that's not in it... I turn to the Web.
My daughter Wendy, who lives in Maine, was enchanted with a field of deep pink flowers she saw next to a wilderness path. "They were everywhere," she said, "I came up over the rise and it looked like the whole mountainside was ablaze." It turned out they were Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium), a wildflower I didn't know. In the encyclopedia, there was no pink variety listed as native to the Northeast. But on the Web, I found complete information, including lots of pictures and even places selling seed.
© Copyright 2002 Catherine Holmes Clark