iphone.pngCan it really be a year since we published 2008 “Gifts for Gardeners” guide? Well, those suggestions certainly still stand as good gift ideas. So instead of repeating them, this year, let’s look at something a little different.

Gardeners are becoming more and more technically savvy. Pop a gardening question into your favorite search engine, and you’ll soon discover the many online gardening discussion groups and web-based resources (like this fine blog!). So it’s not a leap to guess that many gardeners now also have iPods, iPhones, or iPod Touches. If your gardener has an iPhone or iPod Touch, (or will be getting one soon, perhaps for Christmas?), you may want to check out some of the many applications (a.k.a. “apps”) available for the devices.

One can become quickly overwhelmed looking around Apple’s iTunes App Store (where all iPhone applications must be sold), so we’ve done a bit of investigation for useful applications. Of course the writers of this blog not endorsing any of the applications, and none of us profits from their sale.
Note: Currently, the only way to give apps is to purchase an iTunes gift card to give to the recipient. iTunes gift cards can be purchased in many stores as well as online. Recipients then can use the card to purchase the application directly from their device. Consider printing the application’s web page to include with the card so the recipient knows which app you want to give them.

FlowerPedia (www.mulimobile.com) – As the name suggests, this application is basically a flower encyclopedia, with approximately 1500 photos of different flowers. In addition to providing practical information, such as family and genus names, the program also promises help with flower ID. $4.99

Gardening (http://jeffhaleapps.com/?page_id=148) – This looks to be a simple, but useful little application for vegetable gardeners. Gardeners add all of their plants to a “My Garden” page, create to-do lists, link to planting instructions, take and store photos as the season, progresses, etc. $1.99

iZen Garden (www.random-ideas.net/Software/iZenGarden) – This “just for fun” app allows users to create their own portable zen garden right on the iPhone or iPod Touch. Place rocks, rake through the sand (with your fingers), and then shake the phone/iPod to “erase” the garden and start all over again. $2.99

iBird (www.ibirdexplorer.com) – OK, while not strictly (or even loosely) a gardening application, so many gardeners are also avid bird watchers that it’s worth checking out this neat application. Several versions are available (free trial, regional, pro). All include photos, descriptions, and sound clips for the birds. If the user is trying to ID a bird, she’ll be led through a key to assist her. $0 – $29.99

Master Gardener (www.mobileworkssoftware.com/MG/Home.html) – The screenshot at the beginning of this article is from Master Gardener. This application claims to be designed by gardeners and includes 40,000 plants in its built-in database. Gardeners can track plants in multiple gardens, create to-do lists, plan, and even create journal entries. If a needed plant isn’t in the large database (and I just know the first one I would look for wouldn’t be there!), new plants can be added and records for existing plants can be changed. $3.99

iGarden USA (http://nanosoft1.com/) – Another app for the vegetable gardener, iGarden recommends planting times for vegetables, fruits, and herbs in different areas of the country. Once the user’s garden is planted, he can track progress, add notes, add photos, and look up insect information. $4.99

Eden Garden Designer (www.edengardendesigner.com) – As the name suggests, this app lets users design gardens. They can be designed just for fun (for viewing on the phone – complete with waving grasses and buzzing bees) or for planning purposes. $0.99

Audobon Guides – Wildflowers/Birds/Trees (www.audubonguides.com/text/our_app.html) – These comprehensive guide applications let users identify and learn about different specimens. Terrific photos (would you expect anything less from Audobon?) and effective search functions are included. Users can create their own lists, notes, and photo albums. $9.99

Contributed by Carey Harrington, Certified Colorado Gardener