Is Gardenista just another pretty garden app?

Gardenista joins several other iPhone apps created with the home gardener in mind. Like all apps I consider downloading, I questioned what was different about Gardenista, and was it worth its $2.99 price tag.

Gardenista is simple to navigate.  You begin with a journal, which can be set it up to showcase your individual garden beds, and you can add as many as you like. In order to test Gardenista, I set up three of my beds in my journal. You can then take a picture of each area and upload it to your phone, adding plants from the plant list to your specific areas. You can also edit the list by adding other plants you grow if you know their name and information. In your journal, plant lists will be alphabetized by name.

According to the developers, the app sports a limited database of 100 basic plants listed by common names to keep it simple. This list can instead be sorted by botanical name, plant type or exposure. Click on Catnip for example, and you get its genus name of Nepeta, (but not its species, cataria), and other basic information.  I am surprised cold hardiness and heat zone information aren’t included. I also wish more cultivar names were listed. Perhaps, in updates of the app?

You can edit each entry with further data, but suppose you grow three different types of aster, you will then need to edit each entry for species, cultivar, etc. By tapping on the thumbnail image, you may upload your own photos. You can also add each of your plants individually, but that involves typing all of their information in manually on a little bitty keyboard or touch screen. In my large country garden, doing so would take longer than my patience could stand.

I think the app could be improved by linking it to an online database so that Gardenistas could enter their plant information on their home computers and then syncing it with their iPhones. Apps like Evernote for scheduling and memory and Yelp for navigation and site reviews both have this option and are very popular because of it.

Other gardening apps which have some of the same features are:

Landscaper’s Companion, $4.99, which appears to be a great reference of over 1,400 plants, but doesn’t have the capability to create and save a personal plant list.

IGardenUSA, $4.99, relies mostly upon information about planting seeds, so it isn’t comparable. However, it does contain zone hardiness information, planting depth and spacing.

GardenPilot, $2.99, provides a much more detailed list of plants with 1,400 different varieties listed by both common and botanical names, and the search function allows for narrowing specifics.

Gardenista would be good for newer gardeners with small, uncomplicated spaces. However, without a more expanded plant list, it can’t compete with other encyclopedic apps when shopping at the nursery. I don’t know about you, but I do a lot of nursery face time. An update featuring an online database and syncing capability would really improve this app making it more functional for more experienced gardeners.

Bottom Line: It’s a good beginning, but needs more info and easier data entry.

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Dee Nash is a freelance writer who gardens on five acres outside of Guthrie, Oklahoma.  She is a member of the Garden Writers Association and the American and Oklahoma Horticulture Societies.  She also blogs at:
Red Dirt Ramblings.

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