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PlantFiles How-to's: feedback on search tutorial here, please

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Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


May 30, 2006
2:05 PM

Post #2331143

Please let us know what you think about the new PlantFiles search tutorial: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/608659/

Is is helpful, does it need more work? If you spot an error, or have a suggestion how to improve it, please let us know!
tabasco
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH
(Zone 6a)

May 30, 2006
2:29 PM

Post #2331209

Hi, Terry,

Thanks so much for the E-Z to understand PF tutorial.

In the past I was a reluctant user of Plant Files because of the seemingly complex search. I would rely on Google and that would usually bring up DGs PF listings I wanted... (Nevertheless, I can see the need for PF searches for many advanced plantspersons and gardeners.)

I started using Plant Files more often, though, when someone finally told me where to find the "Generalized" search button. And I find that most useful. I wish it were more prominent on the webpage, though. Most people would not read that far into the PF search instructions to find it but if they did, I am sure they would go wild with using it.

Also, I would like to know how to do a 'forum search' and not have all the plant files entries come up.

One more question--on the 'most popular' entries--you said they were there because of 'comments'--is that the number of comments or the content in the comments? Are "comments" the personal experience notes at the bottom of the PF entry page? (Some of the 'most populars' surprised me.)

Thanks so much for making all this plant information so accessible. t.

Joan
Belfield, ND
(Zone 4a)



May 30, 2006
2:30 PM

Post #2331214

I think it's great! I didn't notice anything you didn't cover.

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


May 30, 2006
2:32 PM

Post #2331220

If my recollection is correct, the most populars are based on the number of positive ratings/comments received. I don't know if Dave weights them according to the whether the rating is positive or negative, or if each receives an equal (but opposite) weight in the scoring.
Joan
Belfield, ND
(Zone 4a)



May 30, 2006
2:32 PM

Post #2331221

Okay, one thing unless I missed it when I looked. A link to the tutorial thread on the PlantFiles home page would be good. :)

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


May 30, 2006
2:35 PM

Post #2331233

Chuckle. That's a to-do for Dave. But I thought I'd give the tutorial a bit of a "road test" first and see if anything needs to be changed or fixed before I ask him to include a link on the PF home page ;o)
Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

May 30, 2006
2:36 PM

Post #2331239

Ahhh .. some guidance, finally!

Yes ma'am. TIS a most wonderful addition.

With a quick glance, I can already tell that (this) will prove to be the needed guide .. in what has long been my relentless bouts of 'duh' dom! (contrary to popular belief: there are corners to be found in the roundest of buildings). Complexity; simplifed ...

Many many thanks, Terry ...

- Magpye

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

May 30, 2006
3:34 PM

Post #2331450

You mean to tell me, I am not the only one who can't tell the name of the nursery apart from the name of of the cultivar or even the hybridizer? The sun breaks through the clouds: EUREKA! A very helpful tool, which deserves many, many links to it, from every page.

xxxxxxxxxx,
Carrie

Happy_1

Happy_1
Chicago, IL
(Zone 5b)

May 31, 2006
8:48 PM

Post #2336442

I learned a couple of things that were puzzling me. Thanks, kids.

One thing you did not mention, which I use all the time, is the wonderful aid in "generalized search". You can put in part of a plant's name and it will search that. Myself, not being a contender for a Spelling Bee, uses that feature all the time.

Now that this all is being looked at...ahem...

Could not all the searching options be on one page? I generally use the General Search but have to keep clicking to get to that point. (Not being a good speller, remember?)

I know it looks very nice the way is it, the the "General" moves all around, depending on the page size that I have at the time. I know it's green, but I still have to look for it. Could it not be separate, as a listing under/above the big box?

Thanks for listening,, Terry, and Dave.

Thanks, also, improving our Home, again.

Hap

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


May 31, 2006
11:14 PM

Post #2337004

Happy, I thought I covered the general(ized) search towards the end...

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

June 1, 2006
12:52 AM

Post #2337399

OK, I'm a little tipsy just now, but I'm not stupid. WHERE IS THE GENERALIZED SEARCH LINK? Do I have to click something? I was so happy Hap mentioned it... but where is it?

xxx, Carrie

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


June 1, 2006
2:21 AM

Post #2337745

carrie, see my last two posts for an overview of the "generalized" search.

One of the reasons we don't highlight it more is because it can bring up a MASSIVE number of results. Most people know whether they have the plant's common or botanical/latin name. If it's the latter, they most likely have either the genus and/or species.
tabasco
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH
(Zone 6a)

June 1, 2006
11:40 AM

Post #2338972



Hey! I mentioned the "Generalized Search" in the first post! LOL

I think it's great and it's a 'no-brainer' (---don't have to think or fiddle too much about genus/species/cultivar/common) and you can get some great results!

As 'Happy' says, though, you have to be a sleuth to find the button.

I think it should be a big red button on the first page!

(unless searching this way requires too much energy from the site, or whatever technical issues might be involved).

Otherwise I think the PF Search and the Tutorial is brilliant!

Happy gardening today. t.

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

June 1, 2006
8:42 PM

Post #2340732

I see, you did mention it. What I need to know is which is the genus, the family, the cultivar, the nursery, the brand name, and how do you tell? Like I'm planting a lot of Bacopa "Snowstorm" these days. Is Bacopa the common name? The genus?
xxxxx, Carrie

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


June 1, 2006
9:03 PM

Post #2340778

Carrie, here's a generalized search for just the word "Snowstorm" (no quote marks.) Hint: anytime part of a plant's name is in quotes - should be single quotes - it is most likely the cultivar name. http://davesgarden.com/pf/search.php?search_text=snowstorm&images_prefs=both&Search=Search

The plant you're talking about is the fifth entry out of seven. If you re-ran the search putting "snowstorm" (again, no quote marks) in the cultivar field of the "main" search page, you'd get the same results.

And here's a generalized search for the words "Bacopa snowstorm" (again, no quote marks.): http://davesgarden.com/pf/search.php?search_text=bacopa+snowstorm&images_prefs=both&Search=Search

As you'll see in these entries, Bacopa is the common name for Sutera (and I think maybe it was the genus name at some point in the past, but I won't swear to it.)
tabasco
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH
(Zone 6a)

June 2, 2006
2:23 PM

Post #2343454

Thanks Terry, for the demonstration.

And, carrie, I'm in the same boat. family/genus/species/common--the way plants are marked, often times you never really know. And the way taxonimists (sp?) are changing names is something else, again.

My usual fall back is to put key words into the 'generalized search' and most likely I can find my plant. Since I found the 'Generalized' button I use PF much more often.

Of course, the other more 'advanced' search methods are wonderful if you are looking for 'all yellow iris siberica that are hardy in zone 5, etc., etc.'

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

June 2, 2006
4:18 PM

Post #2343877

Arigato, Terry, as well as thank you and merci and Danke schoen. I could go on but I would, sadly, soon run out of languages. I noticed that if, after your search, you look at the scary part at the top it does give the genus and all that stuff. THANK YOU TERRY for shining a flashlight into that dark, moldy place I call my brain!


xxxxxx, Carrie
TwinLakesChef
OC, CA & Twin Lakes , IA
(Zone 4b)

June 2, 2006
5:39 PM

Post #2344181

Haven't used it yet but am so thankful for it. In the past I had better luck to have google locate it within Dave's. LOL

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


June 2, 2006
6:13 PM

Post #2344325

Well, give it a whirl - if you get stuck, or my instructions don't make sense just holler!
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

June 2, 2006
7:55 PM

Post #2344620

As far as knowing what's the genus, species, etc:
--If you look at the label and it has two Latin sounding names (the first one should start with a capital letter and the second one should start with a small letter), the first one is the genus and the second one is the species
--If there's only one Latin sounding name, then it's the genus (many hybrid plants don't have a species, so you will often find a plant that has a genus name but no species; however species names aren't used on their own).
--If there's a non-Latin sounding name and it's not in quotes, that's likely the common name
--And as someone mentioned above if it's in quotes it's the cultivar.

Some plants will have all these parts, but many will not. Of course there are always exceptions or nurseries that label things incorrectly, but hopefully these tips will help you narrow your search down. And there are the occasional confusing ones like Bacopa where it sort of sounds latin but is actually the common name (although I agree with Terry--I think it used to be the genus but now is the common name because that's the name everyone knew it by before they changed it)
roadrunner
Hereford, AZ
(Zone 8a)

June 7, 2006
12:35 AM

Post #2360105

No wonder when I asked Mystic to ID a plant for me she was so fast in sending me the correct answer!!! She knew how to navigate the PF...(I wonder why?) LOL Jo
rogert5595
Cheltenham
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

October 24, 2006
12:12 PM

Post #2845199

Hi - I looked through the Search help but still not discovered how to search within a genus for plants of a particular height or particular zone. So for exmaple if I want to find all the asters which are 120 cm (4 ft) or more how do I go about it without pulling them all up and looking at each one in turn?

Thanks

Roger T

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


October 24, 2006
12:23 PM

Post #2845226

Roger, for the largest genera in PlantFiles, the Advanced Search can be run on just that group. Currently those include:

Waterlilies
Tomatoes
Squash
Roses
Potatoes
Peppers
Melons
Lilies
Japanese Maples
Iris
Hostas
Hibiscus
Heucheras
Daylilies
Dahlias
Daffodils
Crepe Myrtles
Corn
Coleus
Clematis
Cannas
Brugmansias
Beans

Asters have fewer than 200 entries, so we haven't given them this treatment yet. Unfortunately, that means that you have to pull each up separately to see its characteristics.
rogert5595
Cheltenham
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

October 24, 2006
1:35 PM

Post #2845375

Can't you get your computer guys to look at that ? it can't be beyond the wit of science to have a "select height" or "select zone" when you search under genus. Unfortunately I thought that was I would get when I paid my subscription !!

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


October 24, 2006
1:48 PM

Post #2845410

Roger, our computer "guys" is Dave ;o)

Your request is logical, and it may seem on the surface that it would be easy to implement, but unfortunately it's not as easy as it looks.

You do have the ability to run advanced queries to narrow down your search results for height, hardiness, bloom color, time, etc.

But to also narrow the search to any one of 4,200+ genera is more difficult. That's why we review and add to the 20 or so genera I listed above - when a particular genus gets large enough to be unwieldy, we then set it up for its own advanced search.
rogert5595
Cheltenham
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

October 27, 2006
3:38 PM

Post #2855699

Hi

I note your comments - but the trouble with the advanced search is that the stuff comes up in a totally random order. If you could search for "perennials 4 ft - 6 ft zone 7" and get them all in alphabetical order that would be one thing - but as it is ther is too much hunting, if what you actually want is "rudbeckias 4 ft & over, zone 8 and less". But may be you could think about it for the future - ?

Roger T

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


October 27, 2006
5:07 PM

Post #2855965

That's a very good suggestion - I'll see if Dave can sort the search results - I'm guessing the most logical would be to "drill down" - by genus, within genus by species and/or cultivars.
WUVIE
Hulbert, OK
(Zone 7a)

November 3, 2006
11:45 PM

Post #2879279

I cheat when looking for plants on the PlantFiles.

Just go to Google and type in (for example)

"Asclepias tuberosa Dave's Garden"

Usually hit a bingo the first shot. :-)
roadrunner
Hereford, AZ
(Zone 8a)

November 4, 2006
1:03 AM

Post #2879460

WUVIE...,me too...LOL Jo

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

April 7, 2007
3:37 PM

Post #3365837

Terry, you sweetheart, it's me,with most of the same ?? I had before. [silly me] I frequently buy plants on eBay, and I have added PF to my Firefox browser. Sadly, the eBay sellers don't now nearly as much as you folks. So what I do is copy what the seller calls it, and stick that in the PF box. I am not usually successful with this route, but you know that 'leap of faith' we keep talking about? So when I do that, what type of PF search is it doing?

xxx, Carrie

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

April 7, 2007
3:49 PM

Post #3365882

For instance, perilla, magilla purple took a while, as did Alternanthera grenadine. I eventually found that Perilla is the name of the plant and there is no "purple". Alternanthera is the name of the plant and grenadine is the cultivar? Once I got to the alternantheras, it was easy to scan down andsee that one of them was called grenadine. But why doesn't Alternanthera, Grenadine (copied straight from the listing) not tae me straight to the page?


xxxxx, Carrie

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


April 7, 2007
3:56 PM

Post #3365905

The "generalized" search has a glitch - as best I can tell, it is ignoring the common name fields. So if the name you're using is the plant's common name, it probably won't find it. (Sorry for the inconvenience, but Dave groans every time I bring it up - I think that means the fix is harder than it looks ;o)

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

April 7, 2007
4:01 PM

Post #3365921

Well, thanks for the fast answer. So that window goes to the generalized search. Tell him the natives are threatening an uprising!

xxxx, Carrie

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


April 7, 2007
4:08 PM

Post #3365948

I'll...uummmmm...well, I'll see what can do to tug on his sleeve ;o)
azrobin
Scottsdale, AZ
(Zone 9b)

August 23, 2008
10:44 PM

Post #5458433

Happy weekend everyone.

The one thing I couldn't find are acceptable file formats that can be uploaded in PlantFiles or any other area. I know .jpg is the standard and thought I saw something about you accepting .pdf's now? But what about .bmp, .gif...anything else acceptable?

Maybe you can put it as a STICKY in one of your Intro Pages or as a FAQ.

Thanks,

Robin
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

August 23, 2008
11:14 PM

Post #5458562

jpg, gif, and png are the only accepted formats as far as I know. Or at least that's what the error message says when you try to upload something that's in a different format.
altoclef
Los Altos, CA

January 14, 2011
6:54 PM

Post #8311092

I could not find a reference to plants with manzanita colored bark. There is a rhododendron (white, fragrant flowers) with red bark, and I could not find that either.
mskittydg
Houston, TX

March 25, 2011
12:06 AM

Post #8448689

There are 309 petunias. That's not enough to have its own genus entry in the Advanced Search?
I want a strongly fragrant one. They're almost all reported as fragrant but that's not actually true in real life. I know a few cultivar names - 'Flamingo' - and the 'Madness' series - and I don't get any results searching for those no matter what I do. Is there a way to do this search?
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

March 25, 2011
6:55 AM

Post #8449050

Here are a couple from the Madness series: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/adv_search.php?searcher%5Bcommon%5D=&searcher%5Bfamily%5D=&searcher%5Bgenus%5D=petunia&searcher%5Bspecies%5D=&searcher%5Bcultivar%5D=madness&searcher%5Bhybridizer%5D=&searcher%5Bgrex%5D=&search_prefs%5Bblank_cultivar%5D=&search_prefs%5Bsort_by%5D=rating&images_prefs=both&Search=Search If you look at the top of the page in the link you'll see the search criteria I used. I tried the same thing with Flamingo and nothing came up so it could be that nobody's entered any of those into Plant Files. I didn't find much on Google about a Flamingo series of petunias either, so is it possible that the name was given to you incorrectly? Either that or it's something really new and there's not a lot of info out there about them period.

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


April 1, 2011
4:16 AM

Post #8464358

[quote="mskittydg"]There are 309 petunias. That's not enough to have its own genus entry in the Advanced Search?
I want a strongly fragrant one. They're almost all reported as fragrant but that's not actually true in real life. I know a few cultivar names - 'Flamingo' - and the 'Madness' series - and I don't get any results searching for those no matter what I do. Is there a way to do this search?[/quote]

Here's a quick way to see where a particular genus "ranks" in terms of number of entries: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/tools/names.php?s=c&z=genus&family=&genus=

That's not the sole criteria we use to determine which plants need their own advanced search and browse tools, but it is a big part of the equation.
arway
Palm City, FL

March 31, 2012
12:57 PM

Post #9064438

How do I find a vender for box huckleberry?

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

April 1, 2012
7:43 AM

Post #9065321

Do you know the species name and correct botanical listing so you can get to the PlantFiles listing for the plant you want? There shoud be a link on that page that says "find vendors for this plant?". If you don't know how to get to the PlantFiles listing for the plant you're looking for, that's sort of a different question.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't know anything about the plant you're looking for, but what I do when I'm looking for something particular is I try to find the PlantFiles listing. Maybe I have the name wrong, maybe I'm looking for "shrubs" and I should be looking for "trees," maybe I should be looking for "edible" instead of "ornamental," etc. Maybe even I'm looking for local vendors instead of mail order or the other way around! I don't know...but if you're looking for something specific, I think using PlantFiles to narrow down the focus of what you're looking for is the way to go. Once you verify that you've got all that information correct, if PlantFiles doesn't list a vendor, you could try a general Google search.

Hope that's helpful! ^_^

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


April 2, 2012
1:56 PM

Post #9067172

[quote="arway"]How do I find a vender for box huckleberry?[/quote]

Gaylussacia brachycera (aka box huckleberry) isn't a common plant in the mail order trade.

However, this Connecticut nursery offers it to walk-in customers: http://davesgarden.com/products/go/view/2186/ and *may* offer it via mail order in the fall. Contact them to determine availability And Esveld (in the Netherlands) offers it: http://davesgarden.com/products/gwd/c/3015/

cinemike

cinemike
CREZIERES
France
(Zone 8a)

August 11, 2012
10:17 AM

Post #9237803

I still can't figure out how to find a species record for a plant that has numerous cultivars...latest example... !ris sibirica...
I have no idea how many pages of cultivars I might have to scroll through (less than the 480 total, I hope) before finding the record for the 'original' Iris sibirica...???
Since I grow only from seed - largely species - this is a real pain for me...
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

August 11, 2012
10:44 AM

Post #9237818

I don't know which method you're using to search, but if you go to the specific search and put in Iris in the genus and sibirica in the species field, then go down to the "cultivar preferences" drop down and choose "show only plants with no cultivar" that will bring up only the straight species.

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


August 13, 2012
9:46 AM

Post #9240024

If you pull up any listing for Iris sibirica, then click on the specific epithet "sibirica" (it's a hyperlink), it should pull up the actual species record first: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/b/Iridaceae/Iris/sibirica/cultivar/0/ - if for some reason it doesn't pull that one to the top, choose from the links to sort by species: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/b/Iridaceae/Iris/sibirica/species/0/

cinemike

cinemike
CREZIERES
France
(Zone 8a)

September 22, 2012
12:19 PM

Post #9283163

OK, I understand now...
Thanks
trf1
Durham, NC

July 17, 2014
7:02 AM

Post #9895852

I'm a new member and a new subscriber; I signed up mostly to take advantage of the Advanced Search on PlantFiles. I just moved into a new place in zone 7b (or 8a in microclimates) with a large area for food production, and I want to impress my old friends (in zone 6b) with the cool fruits I can grow -- and learn about these myself, too. So, I ask, what edible fruits and nuts I can grow that I may not be familiar with based on prior experience in zone 6b?

So I use advanced search to look that up; the closest I can get is Category: edible fruits and nuts; Hardiness: USDA Zone 8a. That returns over 3,000 results in 79 pages. Daunting, but I try to work through them, figuring I'll just barrel on through and take some notes. But as I do so, I realize this is not really 3,000 distinct results: for instance, there are 3 1/2 pages of hazels alone (same species).

There are a few ways this could be made easier. I've done some database admin myself, so I know some features are easier than others. Could you comment on the potential for implementing any of these any time soon? I'm not asking about implementing all of them -- any one of these would make this search substantially easier for me.

* allow users to choose number of results per page (e.g. 20, 50, 100; ideally include "all" as an option) - this is probably easiest for you to implement, and would still make the process less painful / quicker for me, since I could then quickly scroll through functionally identical results rather than waiting for new pages to load.

* add "green stars" (or yellow flags, or red whatevers) to the set of fields on which we can select. This wouldn't solve the problem entirely, but would reduce the number of functionally duplicate results. I imagine it would also be of interest to many other users.

* allow users to download results - not everything about them (that could endanger your intellectual property and your business model) but just a single piece of info, e.g. the scientific name. Then I could take this and quickly cut out the duplicates, identify the species I'm not familiar with and then use the database and forums to find info on the results of interest (probably only about 15 or 20 distinct species).

* allow users to specify "hardy only in Zone 8a" type results, so that I don't get all the results I am already familiar with from experience in colder climes

* allow users to select "show only one result from each species" or "do not show cultivars". This would solve my problem very nicely but may not be of general interest (except for other people who want to use Advanced Search in the way that I do).

It appears that no one else has posted Qs like this but I happen to know a number of likeminded gardeners who would find functionality like this quite useful if it were available. So, thanks for considering these suggestions!

One final question; this is not related to the above problem, but also relates to database interface. It would be great to turn the "other details" search box into a multi-select box rather than a single-select box -- in case I want to find an edible fruit/nut tree that is hardy in zone 8a and also is (eg) BOTH deer-resistant AND provides winter interest.

Thanks,
Rob

Edit: Hmm, just realized I put this on the "comments on tutorial" rather than the general forum. Let me know if you'd like me to move it.

This message was edited Jul 17, 2014 10:04 AM

Terry

Terry
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)


July 17, 2014
7:54 AM

Post #9895891

Great questions. I'd love to say it would be a breeze to implement, but I am not a programmer. I will talk to our techs and see what we can do. Database structure has come a long ways since we created PlantFiles, but I have no idea what we can do within the existing architecture, or what it would take to move the data to a new platform.


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    Other PlantFiles How-to's Threads you might be interested in:

    SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
    Why don't you follow the rules of nomenclature? Terry 1 May 31, 2008 3:40 PM
    Taxonomy changes coming in the PDB Terry 41 Oct 20, 2007 2:03 AM
    How do I search for what is reported to grow well near me? ceallachg 12 Aug 29, 2008 11:27 PM
    Meet your PlantFiles Editors Terry 44 Aug 26, 2010 1:35 AM
    Royalty lilac bigcityal 7 Aug 8, 2007 11:26 PM


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