Good Garden Web Sites

Good Garden Web Sites

Part of Ep. 501 Planning Ahead

Choose your seeds for spring planting using online gardening websites.  Master Gardener Doris Kissler reviews some of her favorite gardening sites.

Premiere date: Feb 28, 1997

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
This is the time of year where I do a lot of my gardening indoors, going through my seed catalogues, trying to pick plants for spring. I'm with Master Gardener, Doris Kissler.

Doris, I'm hearing a lot of people telling me that now they're using their computer to help plan for spring. I've got access to the internet, I've done some browsing on the World Wide Web. All I get is lost. Can you show me how I might actually use this as a gardener?

Doris:
I can make some suggestions. One suggestion that I would make is to start from one of the "garden gateways." A garden gateway is a web site that organizes other web sites by category.

Shelley:
It organizes it like a directory?

Doris:
That's correct. There are many of them out there. They cover about 80% of the same topics, and I think you just have to choose one that you're comfortable. I'm particularly fond of garden.com. Notice, we have the site directory down here. And the reason why I like this particular directory is that it lists topics that I'm interested in and it lets me choose information that has to do specifically with the midwest. For example, if I'm interested in looking up something on pests or diseases, I could choose "midwest," and I would only get that information.

Shelley:
That's a great idea. Why should we look at a disease that's only in California?

Doris:
Right. Or, if I'm interested in organic gardening...

Shelley:
What about "great gardens," what is that?

Doris:
Great gardens would give us information on botanic gardens, public gardens, arboreta, world-wide or we could select just midwest.

Shelley:
Can we actually look-- will the computer allow us to visually tour these gardens?

Doris:
Yes, we can.

Shelley:
All right. Well, one of the things I'm doing a lot of this time of year is picking plants that I'm going to grow. So, I'm doing a lot of browsing through my encyclopedias and seed catalogues. How can the computer help with that?

Doris:
Of course, most of the nursery or seed catalogues are available on-line. But one thing I'd like to show you that I think is particularly useful when your selecting plants is this plant encyclopedia. For example, suppose you wanted to select some ground covers. Notice we have a lot of different selections here. We're going to pick a ground cover. We don't really care when it blooms, but you could pick a bloom season.

Shelley:
Let's pick blue.

Doris:
Okay, and let's pick partial sun. Most of us don't have completely sunny yards. We should pick zone four, but just so we get a larger selection, let's be brave, here, and pick zone five.

Shelley:
Dangerous! Now, it's actually pulling up plants that meet our criteria?

Doris:
Right. We have a fairly large selection. These are all ground covers that bloom in partial shade, with blue flowers.

Shelley:
Let's try the "Companula."

Doris:
Okay, we can get some more information on the "Companula."

Shelley:
It enlarges the photo, that's nice.

Doris:
And it gives us a short description of this particular plant. I'm not even familiar with this one, I don't even know how to pronounce it. Let's listen to the pronunciation.

Computer:
"Companula poscharskyana."

Shelley:
Now, that my seed catalogues can't do!

Doris:
That's correct.

Shelley:
That's fascinating. Okay, now we've picked a plant. I think it's useful to have the pronunciation, because you can go to the nursery and get the wrong plant if you can't say it correctly. It's useful to have the scientific name handy.

Doris:
That's correct. And, you know, we can even buy this plant over the internet.

Shelley:
Let's look at another-- "buy" me another blue plant, why don't you.

Doris:
Okay. I really like the "Brunnera." What about the "Brunnera?"

Shelley:
You're saying I can actually shop through here?

Doris:
We can, indeed. Now, you could go to a particular seed catalogue or nursery catalogue. But one of the things that I'd like to show you is one of the garden stores or garden centers available only on the internet. This is a site that has plants, seeds, heirloom vegetables, gardening tools, furniture.

Shelley:
This one won't arrive in my mailbox?

Doris:
No, this one will not. So, let's type in what we're interested in, the "Brunnera."

Shelley:
It's actually searching to see if it has that plant for sale?

Doris:
Yes, it is. Notice it has two cultivars. Would you like to purchase one of these?

Shelley:
The blue one.

Doris:
Okay. How many?

Shelley:
Three. Now, are you actually filling out an order?

Doris:
We're in the process of doing that. What we want to do now is to add this to our shopping cart or wheel barrow as they refer to it. And notice that it tells us what we've ordered so far. We could order more, if we wanted to. Or, we could just place our order right now by clicking on this button and entering our credit card, name and address, and we'd be all done.

Shelley:
This would definitely be a way to use the computer.

Doris:
It certainly is. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, Shelley. You must not be afraid to look at this as a great tool for gardening. Just dig in.

Shelley:
Okay, thanks, Doris. So, consider the computer as, possibly, a future tool for your garden.

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