Mobile App Makes Plant Selection Easier than Ever
Foolproof Plants for Small Gardens, an app from Susan Morrison and Sutro Media, offers designers and homeowners alike a tool for selecting the right plants based on characteristics, growing habits, USDA zone and more.
Imagine a master gardener friend who is willing to come along to the nursery with you should you have any plant selection questions. Need a plant for privacy? Drought tolerance? Something that’s evergreen? Or how about one that provides fall color? No problem, your master gardener friend has pictures and information on the plants that will fit the bill –and she’s able to verify they will work in your area.
Susan Morrison is just such a friend and she comes along with you in the form of an app for your iPhone, iPad, or Android device entitled Foolproof Plants For Small Gardens. The app is available for purchase on iTunes and Google Play (under the name Plant Picks for Small Gardens).
The app contains features that are impossible to include in a reference book, such as recorded pronunciations for each plant and links to online nurseries, relevant articles or pruning videos. Users can leave comments or even ask questions within the app for Susan to answer.
Homeowners, avid gardener or not, can use the app as well for selecting plants. The app is particularly helpful when visiting the nursery.
The app is most effective in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) geographic hardiness zones 5-10 and also has a selection of plants for zone 4. Hardiness indicates the ability of a plant to withstand cold temperatures, narrowing your selection of plants to those that are cold-hardy in your area.
Oriental Fountain Grass picture by Genevieve Schmidt.
In our wonderful world of information overload, editing down has become quite the talent. The beauty of this app is in what’s not there. In other words, you don’t get every plant that is available on the globe. Instead you get plants that will work in your area. And the cutoff size for shrubs is 5 feet or smaller, and trees are 25 feet and smaller. So unless you are designing a national park it will work for the majority of gardens.
She knows first-hand the challenges and rewards of gardening in a small space. Her own 18 by 50 foot backyard is a laboratory for fresh design ideas, a test garden for new plants and more importantly, the most popular "room" in her home on a summer evening.