Plant guru Dr. Michael A. Dirr offers Dirr’s Tree and Shrub Finder ($15), a comprehensive database searchable by 72 criteria.
Recently, a bumper crop of mobile apps for the gardener has sprung up, making it convenient to quickly reference the growing requirements of a hydrangea or diagnose an ailing tomato plant. Our favorites, each indispensible in its own way, make for a handy trifecta for design, diagnosis, or definition of just about anything you’ll encounter in your backyard paradise. Susan Cohan, a New Jersey-based landscape designer, shares our enthusiasm. “I no longer have to drag my falling-apart, had-since-college copy of [Michael] Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants into the field,” she says. Also of note, though not specifically intended for the garden: Pinterest (pinterest.com)*, a free website and smartphone app, lets users create pin boards of their favorite design images — a handy tool when compiling inspiration shots for an outdoor seating area or landscaping around a pool. Somewhere, someone must make a touch-screen-compatible gardening glove.
Here are three of our favorites (including the Dirr's app at the top of the page):
The Vegetable Gardening Guide ($3) provides tools including planting instructions, irrigation strategies, and recipes for the bounty.
Landscaper’s Companion ($5) is a plant reference guide providing growth requirements, usage suggestions, and an image library of flora.
Katie Mendelson is the assistant editor of GARDEN DESIGN.