Perhaps you saw a pair of blue jays conversing in the pear tree and realize it's time to get serious about your spring garden. Or, like my husband, you may have glanced up briefly from your cell phone to remark, "What's that loud chirping noise?" In either case, we've found an app for you:
1. Organic Gardening Magazine. The gardening app for iPad users who want to translate Rodale Inc.'s paper magazine into a digital version; beautiful imagery and magazine stories about such topics as how to grow prize-winning carrots, rose care and maintenance, and the difference between "good" and "bad" bugs.
2. Lay out your vegetable plot with Garden Squared, which allows you to select dimensions of beds from 1-by-1-foot-square to 4- by 8-feet.
Above: Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.
3. Electronic field guides such as Leafsnap, NatureGate, and iPflanzen can ID plants on the fly. Snap a plant's photo with Google Goggles, or take a picture of a tree's leaf against a white background—and submit it instantly for analysis. Or click through a list of characteristics (leaf shape, flower color, plant's height) to make the flower or plant identification.
4. House & Garden. For iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, a digital version of Conde Nast's indoor-outdoor shelter magazine; the magazine's regular topics include Prince Charles' Chicken Coop at Highgrove Estate.
Photograph via Silverpop.
5. Mother Earth News. From Ogden Publications, this gardening app has a library of DIY and how-to information on such topics as organic foods, country living, green transportation, renewable energy, natural health, and green building practices.
6. A reference guide with information on more than 26,000 plants (including trees, shrubs, annuals, and perennials), Landscaper's Companion developed by Agile Track Software is $4.99.
7. A digital version of Sunset Magazine's biblically comprehensive reference, The New Western Garden Book (ninth edition) has nearly 30 DIY videos and more than 100 slideshows; for iPad and iPhone, it's $19.99.
8. Into Gardens, created by British garden designer James Alexander-Sinclair, concerns itself with such topics as eating what you grow and has interactive captions. Information is conveyed in a breezy tone, familiar to followers of Alexander-Sinclair's Blogging from Blackpitts Garden; he says, "Our idea is to be the voice of flippant authority."
Nos. 9 and 10. Looking for a soothing scene to scroll across your Android phone? (Not me, but I seem to be in the minority). Live three-dimensional wallpaper is extremely popular, including Celtic Garden Free (from DualBoot Games, the app displays a "calming garden scene with a Celtic flare," according to the developer) and Tea Garden Live ("a peaceful Japanese Tea Garden scene, with a waterfall and moving water," says developer MobileFolk).
For more of our favorite digital garden references, see There's an App for That.