I use pf for all the listed reasons, except the last one ofcourse. PlantFiles was how I was introduced to DG when I purchased a plant years ago, and wanted to learn more about the plant's culture to begin with. I've been a member ever since.
I'm like you on this Lily. All the reasons listed except for "I don't use plantfiles." Plantfiles is how I ended up finding Dave's Garden. One of the things that makes this not just a social club with flower pictures and advertising.
I voted for users comments. It is interesting to get some honest opinions complete with reasoning. I do find a lot of 'invasives' don't seem to bother me as much as others, perhaps because I have acreage to work with so am not confined to smaller areas that can be problematic with over zealous plants.
I chose other ~ I use it when I've purchased a new plant or to research a plant I might want.
Then I link it to my journal in the appropriate category.
It is a worthwhile feature and it is how I came to DG initially also. I think it must be DG bait! lol
I use PF in a number of ways, including adding pics, checking hardiness zones, and reading comments along with countless others, but the main way that use it is to see what a plant/cultivar really looks like before placing an order. That's what I was doing when I found DG to begin with and that's still the most important thing for which I use PF. Because so many vendors use shamefully doctored photos, I look every plant up in PF before I buy. If I'm really lucky, there will be a number of photos so that I can get an 'average' of how it looks.
I voted that I find user comments useful, but like a couple other have posted, I found Dave's Garden by searching for plant info and being directed to a PlantFiles entry. I've active on DG about half the year, and probably use PlantFiles every day I'm here.
I use Plant Files for all of the reasons listed (except for the last one, obviously) plus some others.
I also love to look at the pictures that other members have posted, even if I already have the plant. If It's something I just planted, it shows me what I have to look forward to. If my plant isn't doing well, it shows me what it should look like. Since many of the plants have several pictures (and some have lots), it gives me a better idea than just looking at pictures in nursery catalogs where the speciman photograghed was grown under the best conditions and the picture may have been "touched up".
Nuts, I do the same! I especially like to see pictures of the overall plant. It's easy to get lured in by a pretty flower, but I want to see what it's going to look like in relation to the rest of my garden.
[quote="DreamOfSpring"]I use PF in a number of ways, including adding pics, checking hardiness zones, and reading comments along with countless others, but the main way that use it is to see what a plant/cultivar really looks like before placing an order. That's what I was doing when I found DG to begin with and that's still the most important thing for which I use PF. Because so many vendors use shamefully doctored photos, I look every plant up in PF before I buy. If I'm really lucky, there will be a number of photos so that I can get an 'average' of how it looks. [/quote]
Remember to post images of your own plants during the various growing stages.
We especially need images of the stems, leaf axils, seeds, seed pod/heads, roots and undersides of leaves. There's always a new way to photograph a plant if you put your mind to it and your image might be very helpful to someone researching it.
Other things that we need...bark on trees, terminal buds on tree branches before they leaf out, silhouettes of mature trees in the winter (most have a distinctive shape) Seedlings of trees (or any plant!) Foliage in spring, summer and winter. Weeds and grasses...yep, them too! Folks think 'ornamental' and naturally take pictures of whatever they've nurtured, but plain old Johnson grass or crab grass has a place in PF too. Close-ups of thorns and milky sap from broken stems (if it has milky sap)and hollow stems.
Blooms are nice, but there are so many more aspects to a plant, that many folks are missing great opportunities to contribute.
melody - you've got me brainstorming now! You're right, of course. There are so many other parts of plants that would be helpful to see.
I've posted buds & a couple of seed heads, but I never really thought about tree bark, for example . . .and what's funny about that is we bought our two River Birch trees mainly because of the beauty of the bark.
Guess I'm going to have to take a lot more pics . . .and at other times of the year, too. Wow . . .my mind is racing!
Definitely other. I joined Dave's Garden to have unlimited access to the Plant Files. I consult them for all kinds of information and for plant identification. I utililize plant height, spread infomation, zone info etc. You're right about needing photos of various plant parts but you have so many plant photos that this is still a wonderful plant resource, especially now in the era of digital photography.
Oh, now I can put pictures in PF too! I take such lousy pictures that I'm usually embarrassed to upload them...but I ought to be able to get a coreopsis seedling or a balloon flower's milky sap or even than stupid burning bush when it's NOT burning. Gotcha!
A year or so back, I took a bunch of pictures of leaves from just ordinary trees around my area, closeups showing the veins and undersides, some just because I liked the abstract patterns they made and others to add data to my journal. I also took pics of bark from various trees to use as a reference for artwork. I took a lot of weed pics to request ID's. I'll have to go back and find some of those and see about adding them to PF. I, too, only thought you wanted the perfect, gorgeous pics of flowers and such, but now that you mention it, I can see how all of those pictures actually include a lot of data about the plants they represent. Such informaiton would add to the richness of PF and make it an invaluable tool for scientists, researchers, and hobbyists alike.
If I might add a little something to Melody's excellent suggestions...when you add a photo to PlantFiles, it's very helpful for both those that use PlantFiles, and the PlantFiles Administration if you add a little comment to the photo when you add it. Then that comment shows up in the photo caption and tells users that the photo is of the 'underside of the Populus deltoides leaf, or just put 'the underside of an Eastern Cottonwood leaf'. I know the photo should speak for itself, and most times it does, but that little bit of additional information is helpful in a lot of ways.
The stock photo online of Purple Prince is typical of your message, Mrs. Colla. It hasn't been "that" purple for anyone yet. It creates only doubt for the vendor by gardeners who want to believe that what we see is real. I've faced it too many times. Here's a collage showing the stock photo (dark) along with reality.
This is just one great reason for posting photos on Plant Files.
I think PlantFiles are essential to me for two reasons: First, I go to them to see if anyone has posted a photo of the plant's growth habit. So many catalog photos are just pics of the flower, with no overall view of the plant. Second, the member comments really tell you the "real deal" - whether the plant really has a long bloom time, how strong a grower the plant is, etc. Thanks everyone for participating! =) I try to post any photos of plants that we don't really have that many photos of to add to the database, too.
Yes indeed Joan, the comment area is very important!
I usually tell what the image is: underside of leaf, leaf axil, seed pod, and then tell what time of year it is and where it was photographed. The little comment area attached to the picture is for a very short description (I think it is 25 words or less...Joan?) My description is usually something like..."Cornus florida berries, late October, west KY, USA" Then, I go to the real comment area and write a more detailed comment.
This has been a very good Voting Booth question, it has people thinking and many are now encouraged to contribute to PF when they may not have before. A BIG thanks to Pirl for coming up with this one!
I also greatly appreciate it when the poster indicates whether the photo was taken in such places as a greenhouse, a nursery or store, a botanical garden, a trip to such and such Iris garden, etc.
Joan, I didn't realize the description on the photo was also helpful for PF Admin, so I appreciate that you shared that info.
I haven't actually posted to PF much lately, but I used to try to post a photo of everything I had, esp if there wasn't a photo of it in PF's already. I've just been busy lately with other things, but I will post them again in time. Another thing I realized recently is that there can pretty much never be too many photos of a plant in PF. I used to avoid adding photos if there were say 5 or 6 there already. I figured that was enough. Now I realize that I love it when a plant I'm looking for in PF's has tons of photos. The more, the better, as that gives me all the more visual information about the plant/flower.
Exactly. The more information PF can give someone the better. If an entry has none, or just one image, you might upload several. If an entry is popular and has many images. select your best one or two, especially if you can give everyone something unique. If you have a plant you want to share with everyone, go to PF first and see what is posted. You might be able to make your images more useful that way. If all you see are close ups of flowers, an image of the whole plant with possibly something in the picture for a size reference would be good.
I stumbled in here by googling plants I wanted to learn more about. I'm in the process of clearing out the back yard of 30 yrs worth of growth with the intention of using it all for crops. I'm only using a fraction now. After realizing that I could plant more than we could dream of eating, canning and sharing I decided I could have flowers after-all! I didn't think I would have room since I'm planting just about every common veggie & fruit known to man. I never realized I have a full acre! I love being able to see the plants in real life pictures unlike the doctored photos on nursery sites and the different variations some have between plants of the same flower. Next spring I'll be able to have beautiful flowers in the back with the knowledge I'll be happy with what I buy because of this site!
Cindy...lots of fruits and veggies in PF too, and reports from folks who grow them. (I know, I've added hundreds myself) We need fruit and veggie pictures. The seedlings, plants, blossoms, immature, and ripe produce.
Be sure to get those fruits and veggies added too folks!
Pls look at the excellent pics this individual posted. Details about foliage, stem, flowers, etc. Joan, the only thing they are missing are the little explanations as you suggest. Unless the pic is glaringly obvious, I will start including little legends.
Melody, I will look at the samples you provided so I can be better informed as to what constitutes a good pic of a trunk, foliage, etc.
Even the obvious image will benefit from a small caption. Just say where the image was taken and what time of year. This will help viewers...even with blossoms. A plant that blooms for me in April may not bloom for someone further north until May. This will help someone judge bloom time for their area. Even some catalogs are quite vague when describing the bloom time. 'June' does not always mean June at different latitudes.
Bloom times can be confusing when comparing the same plant to two different areas.
When PlantFiles was first born, we had the criteria for Iris bloom times set in months. Someone could check off April for bloomtime, which kind of corresponded to the early/mid season bloomer for those in the southern part of the country. But that same Iris up here in the far north wouldn't bloom for me until mid June, and that was considered early for this area. Mid season would be early July for me, and the late season Iris are just finishing up now toward the end of July. We have since changed the bloom time criteria to correspond with the American Iris Society's E, EM, M etc.
If I could check all the reasons I would have. Except for not using the plant files. I have caught viruses from looking at Google images on the Internet, so I feel safe looking at the images on here instead. The info others provide of their experiences has been very helpful for my success in the garden. I also enjoy the communities submissions. I finally subscribed this past year after many years of using DG and my journal has been a wonderful tool to aid my poor memory of what plants I've had in the past, or when I fertilized the last time. I wonder why I waited so long? I'm stuck like glue now!