Suggestions / Help ($) in Building a Plant Database

bradytimes(6)November 30, 2007

I'm coming to you looking for suggestions in building an online plant database. Mostly, I want to pay someone with a background in horticultural to help populate the database. Ideally, it would include about 2000 to 3000 plants...those that are normally available at nurseries. Would this be of interest to you or anyone you know? This is something that you could do in your spare time, or while in-between jobs. You could do as much or as little as you'd like. It's really flexible, I'd just like to have things ready by the next growing season. Also, given the nature of this project (see below), this could be a way to promote your landscaping services to the public.

Or, can you think of another way to get about 2000 - 3000 plants in the database (without violating copyright)?

  1. Hiring students part-time through an internship program. Is there a university / program that you would recommend?

  1. Purchasing the information from an existing source (Horticopia, AHS). Frankly, I don't think they would do it.
  1. Wikipedia. This would work for pictures, but not for zone, exposure and other measurable characteristics.
  1. Outsource it to India. I'd rather have someone with a background (or interest) in horticulture be involved with this.
  1. USDA plant database. "Been there, done that." So far, I've imported about 1300 "commercially available" plants from the USDA plant database. However, it seems like these plants are geared towards agriculture, not gardening. Not very helpful. It would be good to use this as a secondary source of information after a plant has been added, though.

Each plant should include the following information:

  • scientific name

  • common name(s)
  • type (perennial, annual, vine, etc)
  • zone (min and max)
  • water use (min and max)
  • exposure (min and max)
  • height
  • width
  • text description (general, cultivation, uses, problems)

This database is part of a new gardening website that will allow users to share garden plans (pictures + plant lists) online. In addition, it will be a place where landscaping professionals can keep their portfolios up-to-date and in the public of charge. Those with the best/most contributions will receive more exposure and this could mean more business for those in the landscaping industry.

If any of this interests you please respond to this post, or send me an email at "scottbbrady [at] gmail [dot] com".


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Another possibility is paying X amount per plant added, where each plant would include the information mentioned above.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 7:32PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I'd be basing the selection on what wholesale nurseries are offering. I'd also expect to be covering a much higher number of kinds:

Sunset Western Garden Book: "More than 8,000 Plants"

The Plant Locator - Western Region: "More than 50,000 Plants"

5th Edition Andersen Horticultural Library Source List: "over 70,000 plants"

If you had at least as many as the Sunset book it would still amount to mostly common kinds. 2-3 thousand is such a small sampling the utility of the file comes into question, users finding over and over that a plant is not in there will become frustrated. There are individual nurseries that offer more kinds of plants than that.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 10:13PM
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There are nice on-line plant databases available already from mail-order nurseries.

If you do this, for one that small I would think you'd be talking about plants native to a particular State or something. The way to make it useful would be to offer a search where you could search for plants that do well in dry shade, wet shade, full sun in sandy soil, full sun with clay soil, and maybe be able to add in a color pallet or bloom time.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 9:03PM
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Heck I would be interested.I have a degree in Hort but love the whole scientific thing alot as well.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 9:49AM
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Sweet! Email me at "scottbbrady [at] gmail [dot] com" and we'll talk it over.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 10:38AM
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