new native plant site needs you

tinasam(7)September 5, 2006

Please come and send me a list of what you'd like to see there.

Click on Contact Me when you're done browsing and tell me what it needs!

Thank you


Here is a link that might be useful:

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It needs work,yawn.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 12:27PM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Gee I don't know if I can help you more than NYWOODSMAN (joking of course) ;o)

Are you planning to fill in the page with all the growing zones in it? That seems like an awful lot of work. Why not just start with your own state and get it all filled in rather than posting all the zones and leaving people scratching their heads as to why they are dead links. Most people get annoyed with links that don't work.

The index page (main page) really needs a punch of colour so why not create some photo images (using your own will be easier) to make a montage of your state's native flora. Use it as a logo for each of your pages.

Articles page and links looks good but again, very plain.

Contact page good...easy to use

Botanical Dictionary... will you be adding to it on an ongoing basis? If so, you may want to create (I think they are called...) jumplinks or hotlinks or something like that where you can jump to a spot on a page without having to scroll down looking for it. So say you want to look up "leaf roller", you will just click on "L" at the top of the page to jump down to the "L's".

The Language of flowers page... I don't understand why the title "Language of flowers" is written 3x before you get to the text and then the hyperlink is located in the tiny green word "this link". I would either get rid of all the "Language of Flowers" titles leaving only one and hyperlink to the title in addition to the "this link". this page also needs something pleasing to the eye, either a logo or a few pictures of native plants, shrubs or trees.

Soil/Mulch page...good but again needs some pictures. Drive around and take close up photos of your hand with each type of soil in it. Simple but effective. If your camera is fast enough to capture it, spilling a bit of each soil off the side of your hand will show the density of each soil type in addition to the general appearance.

Garden Supplies page... use store logos if you can to showcase your sponsors. It's visually more pleasing and attractive to potential customers. You might also make suggestions for tools that work with various soil types.

State Trees and Flowers... cool idea, possibly hyperlink each tree's name to an image of the tree species so that people can look at it as well as read about it.

native plant societies page... looks good, very plain but in this case, plain is ok. The only thing that might make the page a bit more user friendly is to place the "state name" in Bold print.

Public Garden of the month page could use a photo or logo from the park, otherwise it's good and complete with a map link. You 'could' provide a direct link to each featured garden but it's not necessary as you have the form there already to do the search.

Book reviews... a work in progress as well. Have you considered to add comments on what you found useful and not-so-useful for each book? The reviews don't look like so much "reviews" as they are "synopsis". you could also consider letting readers submit their personal reviews using an online-form. Of course you will want to review the submissions before they are placed on the page but it will give a better rounded perspective on each book if you allow comments from other readers.

Free Gardening Books page... looks good but again lacks "punch". You might consider a logo at the top of the page and then thumbprint photos of the book jackets (if that's legal to do, which I expect it must be if the books themselves are already in the public domain).

Hope that's somewhat helpful. You have a big job ahead of you with some of those pages, esp. the Growing Zone pages but best of luck to you in creating them.

southern Ontario, CANADA

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 7:11PM
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Thank you
The database is a work in progress and will be added to until I end the site entirely. I know it will be lots of work but I like the idea of being able to hyperlink the plants to a synopsis page and the idea of searching via zone or plant.

I printed out your comments knottyceltic and I appreciate them more than you know


    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 1:07PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)


That was incredibly rude. Stop it. Offer encouragement or constructive criticism instead of sophomoric and condescending comments. Yawn right back at cha. April

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 5:50PM
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Ok, I found the site lacked coherency.First,There was no intro ,no overview or statement of the authors intent,no philisophical manifesto to capture the audience and to show that autor had more than a pedesrtian view of the the whole movement.I'm tried of visiting socalled native plant web sites
(this one included)where the authors demonstrate a limited understanding of the subject,and its attendent philosphy.There has to more than a laundry list 'native' plant and pictures of pretty native flowers taken out of context.Gardening is about ecosystems,emergent complexity,restoring biological diversity,and an understanding of the sublime.How about showcasing undistrubed nature in vivid photos as a scource inspiration for gardening goals.After looking at the site,and I couldnt do it for long,I had the feeling the authors only inspiration came from her local home depo gardening section or some tired prairymoon catalog.Gardening as a mere collection of pretty flowering plants is an anacronism.Gardening as a static design is a dead garden.The cut and past method of gardening,disparate plants arranged in formal beads,doesnt cut it any more,and simply subtituting in native plants misses the whole point.And ahughes798 I wasn't being rude by giving my honest response,when its was requested,I suggest you keep your comments on thread.Or find another hobby other than internet busybody.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 12:29AM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

NYwoodsman has given you some good points to ponder. But I have to say that in pondering his suggestions you might also want to decide "who your target audience is intended to be". If you try to satisfy too many groups of people at once you are going to ultimately lose everyone's interest and cause yourself a whole lot of work for a project that will likely fail in the end.

For instance, he mentions that there is no intro or philosophy. If you decide to add these features to your index/intro page you will want to decide if you are reaching out to the intelectual, academic, scientific, hard-core naturalist or simply to the novice gardener. In either case you will want to tailor your introduction and philosphy to your target audience. Likewise, the rest of the site should be tailored in the same fashion. I'm assuming you are aiming your site toward the novice gardener since you have a very rudimentary glossary of terms on the botanical dictionary.

I'm not sure I understand NYwoodsman's comment "Gardening as a mere collection of pretty flowering plants is an anacronism.Gardening as a static design is a dead garden.The cut and past method of gardening,disparate plants arranged in formal beads,doesnt cut it any more,and simply subtituting in native plants misses the whole point" I mean, I understand what the words mean but isn't gardening in the eye(ear and nose) of the beholder? You can certainly teach people about natural succession and how ecosystems work but ultimately they are going to do what they want and how they want it. If the intent of the site is to guide the novice gardener, then TRUE the topics of ecosystems and natural succession and so on, need to be addressed but I don't think it has to be discussed on any more than a superficial level perhaps using a diagram to demonstrate natural succession and a brief description which includes rationale. What I'm saying is that if the target audience is a beginner level gardener then there is no sense drowning them in material that is beyond their basic needs or even their desires. Many people still garden in the fashion you call "static design" and "cut and paste" and enjoy it just the same as a master gardener who designs their gardens as a carbon copy of a natural ecosystem. And to be truthful, either garden plan has every risk to fail simply because it is "man made".

In the case of the novice native gardener, a "Laundry List" with "pretty pictures" is almost ALWAYS needed. I can only speak to my situation but I live in the most heavily populated province in Canada, a province which hosts more species of plants and animals than any of the other provinces and territories in our vast country yet finding a website with even the most basic information on Native Plant Gardening is quite difficult. Finding information on local species is even more difficult. Even when you find it, you have to check and re-check information to make sure that the material presented is accurate and finding that information for fact checking is even more difficult. Our Ministry of Natural Resources (government sites) are of little to no help. As such, even the most rudimentary sites regarding native gardening, plants, shrubs and trees are always a delight to find. Again that's only MY experience and I have no idea what information there is for you folks in the USA.

southern Ontario, CANADA

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 12:25AM
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shelley_r(7b NC)

Tina, anything that increases awareness of native plants is good, so congrats on your efforts. You've received some good advice, most of which I agree with. I want to really emphasize some of those points. First, you can't create a good website that is "All Info About Native Gardening." It just isn't humanly possible for one person to adequately cover such a broad topic. Also, what's the point in doing something that has already been done, and done very well, llike a botanical dictionary? Unless, you've researched all the currently available botanical dictionaries online, and found them inadequate, and believe that you can do a better job, just provide a link to the best one you have found.

My opinion is that in order for a new website to be valuable it has to fill a need and it has to be focused on a specific topic. Repeat, you can't cover it all. So, when you were doing research for your book, were there specific areas where you had difficulty finding good information? Pick one of those topics and cover it thoroughly.

Oh, and for an example of an error - the first article I read was "A Yellow Fever Garden" in which the first plant mentioned, Lysimachia nummularia, is a non-native.

Piedmont NC

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 11:55AM
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I am going to add a Canada section, it just is slow in coming as I have a 100 page upload to attend to. (state by state protected plants, recipes, and some more to the database).

The network I am in is the All info About network. My site has to start with that, so please don't think I'm presumptuous to think I can tell everything about native plants. What I hope to accomplish is a good starter site, with a database of plants and pics, rares, protected, invasives, etc...

And I do read every post, good or bad, to learn from it. I appreciate the error point outs.

I appreciate it all, really.
Thank you.

Tina Samuels

Here is a link that might be useful: AIA Native Gardening

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 8:47AM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

On your first page, the right column and the list of other websites (at the bottom of the page) are virtually unreadable on my monitor. The print is too light colored to be that small.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 1:10AM
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I'm always happy to see another native plant site so thanks. The site could use a lot more data and pictures as noted above. I understand you are still building the site so that is to be expected. Links to other sites are always helpful and save you the work of reinventing all the work that others have done. For instance, I find the management profiles at The Nature Conservancy's website to be very useful as well as the sites operated by various invasive plant councils, etc. and those are always helpful links.
From an economic perspective, you will have to decide what to allow from advertisers and what not to allow. I hate pop up ads and ads that are to bold but I'm sure that advertisers pay well to have those included. I suspect that the economic needs of the venture will decide a lot of those issues for you. There is a balance between financing the site and making it more inviting that must be difficult to work out.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 12:54PM
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