ISSUE 35  |  The Organized Life

Tech Roundup: Best Apps for Garden Design and to ID Plants

September 03, 2014 6:30 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

Let me be the first to admit I haven’t fully embraced the 21st century. Apps, for instance. Hate most. Often when I try to look up an address or a restaurant or the correct way to pronounce “verisimilitude,” my iPhone starts flashing an angry question that it really doesn’t want me to answer. “Location Services Disabled, Cancel, Retry?” it asks again and again, working itself into the sort of snit that requires a hard reboot with the business end of a paperclip.

And yet.

Technology tantalizes. Who wouldn’t want to be able to snap a photo of a mysterious leaf and send it directly to the Internet gods to learn what kind of plant you just brushed up against with bare legs? Who wouldn’t want to upload information about “first-bloom” dates to create a database scientists can use to fight global warming?

It turns out you can. You just have to find the right app. The one that works. Here at Gardenista, we constantly slog through the iTunes store to test apps. We create planting schemes with garden design apps. We look up growing tips on iPad plant guides. We try to control our irrigation systems from our phones. And when we find something that works? Then, for a moment, the 21st century feels like home.

Here’s a roundup of the best garden tech we’ve tested in the past few months–let us know if you have other favorite apps we should try:

Above: Photograph by Erin Boyle for Gardenista.

Read about Erin’s favorite online tools for amateur botanists in Best Citizen Scientist Apps for Amateur Botanists. Erin spent a week testing naturalists’ apps to find a handful of the best ones that enable you to help scientists create databases to document climate change.

Above: Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

Here’s a list of the best apps to help you design, plant, and ID everything that’s lurking in your garden: Top 10 Gardening Apps to Download Now.

Above: Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

Jeanne designed garden beds, improved the curb appeal of her home, and learned arcane (but fascinating) facts about some of her favorite plants while she was compiling her list of 10 Best Garden Design Apps for Your iPad.

Above: ID plants with Plantifier and more Best Apps to ID Leaves and Flowers. Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

Above: Hydros, an App to Water Your Lawn works on the same principle as Nest’s thermostat control and fire alarm systems. You can keep track of–and adjust–your home’s setting from your phone. 

For more, see our archive of Garden Tech posts.