It's time to read and vote for your favorite article in the 2013 Write-Off Contest! The four finalist's articles are featured in the May 13 newsletter and can be found through this link. Hurry! Voting ends May 18.
A membership to our site is free and provides you access to the basic features of PlantFiles, as well as the Garden Watchdog, the Garden Bookworm, your own personal garden journal, seed/plant trading tools, and an optional nightly newsletter. Non-subscribed members do not have the ability to read or post to most of our discussion forums, and they have limited access to PlantFiles.
Subscribers have unlimited access to PlantFiles, advanced search and browse features, plus dozens of discussion forums (including an active and helpful plant/pest identification forum!) Subscribers help financially support PlantFiles and Dave's Garden; the cost is $19.95 per year, or $5 for a two-month trial subscription, for those who want to "test drive" these features before committing to a full year's subscription.
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We are a member-supported site. (You may have noticed there are only small Google text ads here - no annoying, flashing banner, floating or pop-up ads to navigate around, even though those are typically more profitable to a site. We also do not sell, rent, or share our members' email addresses, or place spyware on your computer as some "free" sites do.)
The subscription and Google revenue we receive helps offset the expense of hardware and software required to maintain the entire Dave's Garden site including PlantFiles. (Subscribers also have the option of enjoying our site entirely ad-free.)
As mentioned elsewhere in this FAQ, we offer many features free to all our users. In addition to those basic tools and features, subscribed members can participate in nearly 200 discussion forums, twice a week live chat sessions, and have unlimited access to PlantFiles and its advanced features. If you want to subscribe, the subscription link above will walk you through the process.
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Searches use a lot of our servers' resources, which costs money.
We are happy we can continue to provide PlantFiles free for everyone to
use; for most casual users, ten searches per day is more than enough.
Those who use PlantFiles on a regular basis receive the most benefit
from it, and are asked to help support the site by becoming a
subscribed member. The vast and valuable information found within
PlantFiles and the discussion forums are worth far more than the cost
of a subscription, which works out to less than $0.05 per day. Or
you can choose a trial membership to judge for yourself before
committing to a full-year's subscription. Interested in joining? A link
to subscribe is found at the top of this page. Back to the top
Visitors who use one of several popular ISPs (AOL in particular)
frequently encounter this problem. If you create a free username and
log in, your ten daily searches will be credited to your username,
ensuring you are able to search ten times without any problems.
Users who find they regularly "max-out" their searches should consider
subscribing to have unlimited access, more powerful search options and
access to our 100+ discussion forums, including a helpful ID forum for
those mystery plants or pests.
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We try to respond to all questions and comments we receive, usually within a day or so of receipt. However, if you don't type a valid email address in the correct field, we can't reply. If you didn't hear back from us, please check to make sure your user profile contains a working, valid address and try again. (If you aren't signed in as a registered user, be sure to enter only one valid address in the proper field. Including a second or third email address causes our response to be non-deliverable.)
In some cases, it takes a considerable amount of time to research your question and respond; however, if you feel sufficient time has passed, please email us and we'll give you a status update on your report.Back to the top
If only one image is not loading, it may be a transmission "time-out"
problem, or a problem with that image. Please try again to load the
page; if the image refuses to appear, use the "report an error" link in
the right-hand corner to let us know.
If you are unable to see ANY images on our site, the problem is most
likely within the "referer" field that your browser normally would send
to a website. Some firewall and anti-virus software (for no good
reason) disable the referers in your browser, and this can only be
enabled through the firewall or anti-virus software. In short, Dave's
Garden and PlantFiles REQUIRE referers in order for you to view
pictures. This is to protect the copyright on the images that our
members upload in good faith to the site. Referers are used to prevent
thieves from stealing the images. It doesn't work 100%, but it's far
more than any other site does. Most frequently, we hear about this
problem from users who have installed firewall software.
Three of the most common firewalls are McAfee, Norton and ZoneAlarm, so
here are instructions to enable referers in both products. If you are
using a different product, please consult your product's documentation
to enable the referrers.
McAfee Security Suite
Click "Privacy Service"
Click "Protect my identity"
On the right margin click the line that says "I want to . . . protect identity information"
Click the tab that says "CleanSlate" and deselect "Prevent 'referer' information from being shared"
Norton Internet Security
Open Norton Internet Security.
Click "Internet Security".
Click the "Advanced Options" button.
Click the "Privacy" tab.
Change Referrer (under Browsing Privacy) to "Permit"
Click "OK" again.
Close Norton Internet Security and the pictures should show up.
the Zone Alarm configuration panel (Double click on the Zone Alarm icon
on the bottom right of your Windows Taskbar, or open Zone Alarm from
the "Start" and "Programs" menu.)
Select the "Privacy" menu on the left hand side.
Click on the button labelled "Custom", in the "Cookie Control" section
Remove the tick from "Remove Private Header Information".
Close the Zone Alarm configuration panel.
After following these instructions, the images should work fine; if they don't, please let us know.
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Non-commercial use of our images is allowed. For example, you can use
them on your own personal computer, or print them out for a personal
garden journal. Any other use of our images (electronic or print) on
another website, for public lectures, eBay listings, printed catalogs,
books, etc. require written permission and proper credit. Contact us if
you wish to use one or more of our image(s) and we'll help you obtain
permission from the copyright holder(s) and provide you with suitable
wording to credit PlantFiles.
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Our newest feature, PlantScout can help you find who is selling the exact plant (or seeds) you're seeking - look for the next to a link that lets you know a plant is offered by one or more vendors. PlantScout links into the Garden Watchdog so you can see each vendor's track record with other customers.
You can also check out our members' tradelists as you may find offers of plant cuttings, bulbs or seeds available for postage or for trade. You must be a registered user (signing up for a username is free) to participate in our tradelists and email other members with your requests.
Our subscribed members frequently ask each other for advice on where to buy a particular plant. To participate in our discussion forums and all our subscribers-only features, you can subscribe here.
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We'd love to be able to provide free ID help through our helpdesk, but we simply can't.
The good news is we offer a plant identification forum where all members can provide their expertise on images and descriptions submitted for plants and diseases. Typically, items are positively identified within a day or two of submission. (NOTE: You must be registered and logged in to participate in this free forum.)Back to the top
If you're sure the plant is not listed in the PlantFiles, the first step is to sign up for a free membership and log in. Once you've done that, here are easy steps to create a new entry:
Click on the "Add a new plant to the list" link (beneath the current images and comments on the homepage, or in the middle section of your tabs)
Fill in all the appropriate fields. Common names should be capitalized as proper names ("Tall Bearded Iris" for example), as is the family and genus name. Species are not capitalized; cultivar name is entered without single (') or double (") marks and are capitalized. (We give extra points for correct spelling and capitalization!)
After you press "submit" you'll have the option to go to your new entry and add details to it, and submit image(s) and a comment if you wish.
For accuracy, all new entries are compared against a list of validated family and genus names names. If you try to enter a new family or genus that is not on this list, the system may block your entry. You can ask for an editor's assistance in the PlantFiles forum.
Despite these safeguards, mistakes sometimes happen. If you make a mistake or need assistance, use the "Report an Error" button (at the top) while you're looking at the entry. Tell us what needs to be edited, and well take care of it for you.
Note: PlantFiles is designed to be a user-friendly compendium of gardening and horticultural information, covering native and cultivated plants grown for their ornamental or culinary value. Entries for plants grown primarily for their narcotic or psychotropic effects may be removed at th editors' discretion.Back to the top
To add images to our database, the first step is to create a user name and log in. Once you've done that, you can:
Select your watermark preference or allow the system to select the "default" watermark (the most commonly-seen watermark on the PlantFiles images);
Access the correct plant entry and scroll down past the details and comments until you see "Add an image"
Click on the "browse" button. This will open up a new window displaying your hard drive. Locate your image you wish to upload, then press "Preview".
Read the disclaimer and check or uncheck the box as fits your circumstances.
Add a brief caption to note the season and/or location (arboretum, park, etc.), or the age of the plant. (Lengthy or detailed information should be added separately as a comment.)
Preview your image.
If you're happy with the entry, press "Submit".
IMPORTANT: Wait until you receive a message that your message was succesfully uploaded before using your browser's back/forward buttons or closing the page. If you don't wait for this message, the image will probably not load properly.
Here are some tips for adding images successfully and easily:
We recommend a standard image size of 640x480 pixels, and no larger than 800x600. You do not need to upload a thumbnail size image; our system will automatically create the thumbnail image.
Images that are saved as a .gif may take a while to load, especially if they're larger than 1MB; if you're on a slower connection, you may want to save it as a .jpg which will reduce the file size and reduce the wait time.
There are several good reasons to share your images and information:
1. What you
know helps others - whether they're trying to identify a mystery plant,
or choosing plants to grow in their own gardens. PlantFiles is a
vibrant, growing database because thousands of gardeners generously
share their experience, information and photos for the benefit of
2. Your images receive public exposure, and may
even be requested for commercial use elsewhere. Several textbook
and gardening magazine editors frequently browse through PlantFiles for
images. We help them contact members to negotiate for the use of
an image in books or upcoming articles.
3. It's fun to see your submissions appear in the daily DG newsletter, and become an integral part of PlantFiles.
4. You can help your favorite plants make it to the top lists
within PlantFiles by "voting" with your images, comments and even your
ZIP code! Back to the top
It's a simple visual way of displaying how users feel about a
particular plant. We encourage all our users to add a note and rating
to all the plants you're familiar with. (You must be logged in
with a free username to add a comment.) To keep things simple, we
have three ratings, each with its own icon:
: Good rating. This plant has received more positive feedbacks than negative.
Neutral rating. This plant has received ratings, but they have all been
neutral, or there are as many positive ratings as negative.
: Negative rating. This plant has received more negative ratings than positive
The eyes are a clue that the plant is available from one or more PlantScout vendors. PlantScout is a Dave's Garden exclusive feature that lets you find sources for the specific plant species or varieties you're seeking.
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When you submit an image to PlantFiles, it goes into a queue for review
and is released, generally within 1-2 days. Usually one image per
submitter will be chosen to be featured in the nightly newsletter;
others will be released directly to PlantFiles. During times of heavy
image submission, images may take a bit longer to be reviewed and
If you want to check the status of your images, a link on your Member
Page (click on "My Info" above to access it) lets you review those
still pending. This is especially handy if you want to prevent a duplicate submission, or you're concerned that an image didn't properly load.Back to the top
This FAQ is intended to help answer the most common questions we
receive; if you did not find the answer to your question, feel free to
post your question to the PlantFiles discussion forum which is accessible to all registered users. (Need to register? Go here - it's free and easy!) Back to the top