Plant Files

Fulton, MO

Hello everyone. I have been looking through the Plant Files and I have to admit to being a little disappointed in the numbers of entries. Many of my favorite plants have few, if any, comments. Now that there has been an influx of us old GWers, I would encourage everyone to look up a handful of their favorite, unique, most challenging, or most disappointing plants in Plant Files and make an entry. SB

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

SB: Agreed, and I'm working my way through "you know where". I was somewhat startled that there were pictures posted by folks, who made no comments about the plants, or even a zip code report. What gives?

But, I guess that's why we are ALL here, to contribute in our own way. Gives us something to do when we can't be out in the dirt.

So.....what would be some of those favorite plants of yours? Give us a target!

Thumbnail by ViburnumValley
Appleton, WI(Zone 5a)

I'll agree, it really is easy to enter them. You can't assume that all the plants have been entered in. Even if they are you can still add to the comments. I too am suprised when I come across users who haven't entered any info either. I only have a few shrubs to enter, but many other plants when I get leafy pictures.

Fulton, MO

I guess that is a Viburnum, but it looks like a Wahoo tree.

Guilty as charged. I've just been uploading some pictures, without comments. Comments are added separately, so I guess I'll go back and add comments now. I mainly added pics where I had what I thought were good quality images and where the PlantFiles had none or only a few. Cladrastis lutea 'Perkin's Pink', Styrax 'Pink Chimes' Sedum pulchellum, Hydrangea 'Preziosa', others. The pictures don't show up right away, they have to be "approved" by an administrator.

It is easy to find favorable comments; I like to know what's wrong with the plant, or what challenges were met in growing the plant. Zenobia pulverulenta, Camellia 'Snow Flurry', P. persica, Cercidiphyllum jap., Filipendula 'Kahome', others.

I think I'll wander through the Viburnums now.


Appleton, WI(Zone 5a)

You're right abot the honest criticism. The plants I enter I make sure I either own or have worked with for a long time. I didn't see any mention of borers on viburnum until I entered mine. Compact and Highbush are as prone to borer as White Birch around here.

Illinois, IL(Zone 5b)

You're right, but I barely have time to check in on this one forum. If someone would have time to copy and paste some of the plant images in the albums linked on our web site for this purpose, I hereby license my copyrights for Plant Files use. You can find them via the album links at

Guy S.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Guy: you'll have to set up a little propagating chamber for rooting cuttings of your fingers, which when overwintered and have a flush of new growth can be left at the keyboard to post info on PlantFiles. You might have to graft on a scion of your brain cells, but that shouldn't be difficult.

It'd be swell to have your images (oaks especially; current PF needs them sorely) in the database.

SB, you're better than you think. I was adding to PF and liked this image. Sure 'nuff is Eastern wahoo, Euonymus atropurpureus, volunteering out in the yard.

Look forward to seeing more comments amongst the woodies.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Guy, thanks for your kind offer, and I'll make sure the PF editors see it - we may be able to all pitch in and spend some time copying over your photos, giving proper credit of course.

PlantFiles is definitely a community effort - we have held contests and challenges to create entries, add photos, comments, and even check off details.

I'm very encouraged by this thread, and I hope it means an influx of plantsmen and plantswomen who are eager to share what they know about plants they grow.

(groan - that rhymed, didn't it?)

Hi Guy, I'll start back up again for you. I kept the water mark I was using for your photos that has a link to your website that will appear right on your images. DG has been growing and has had a few hiccups recently so I was selfishly focusing on getting a few personal photos of mine that I had allowed other people to use who were members at GardenWeb. They posted my personal photos over there without a water mark and I wanted them here on our site with a copyright before some sort of strange copyright legal mumbo jumbo took place on the 24th of this month over at that site. I allow people to use my photos for educational programming and I didn't particularly relish the thought of this iVillage claiming copyright to any of my photos that were posted by other people. I don't fully understand the long term ramifications of what that GardenWeb is doing over there but something stinks so the race was on to load about 100 personal photos. The burping over here has stopped so I'll start going through and adding your photos for you. It does take a little bit of time though as I need to edit the photo by adding the water mark with your name and such but once I save that I can easily load it here. A few of your photos with a water mark were already added last year.

Here Guy, go fill in the details on your trees-

A photo of the monstrous acorn was submitted with your watermark on it. It is in a queue waiting to be viewed and approved. It should appear within a few days in the listing for that particular oak.

This message was edited Jan 28, 2006 11:07 AM

Illinois, IL(Zone 5b)

Equil, if you're willing to take the time to do all that, and Terry and the other Dave's folks approve, please proceed. Just make sure they are watermarked somehow so they don't end up on someone's commercial web page, since photo sales are part of my income.
Thanks --

Guy S.

Yes Dear, it was watermarked and credited to you. Check here-
Until the photo is approved and added to the newly created PlantFile, I don't believe you can see the credits I gave it or the watermark in the lower left hand corner.

I am a lazy person by nature.. but for you... I'll watermark your photos and create new entries if you go back and fill in the details on your plants. I am not familiar with your oaks or your cultivars and I'd end up calling you on the phone to get details that you know off the top of your head. All you need to do is click on each detail for the plant and check all that is applicable and press enter or maybe you press send. Fiddle with it. You know these trees so it will be as easy as one two three once an entry exists.

Fulton, MO

That's cool, we'll all be oak and viburnum experts... ;-) SB

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Now, now Stressbaby.....

You live in the only state with a town named Viburnum, and it's located not far from Oak Grove and Oak Hill. I was pleased to be able to visit there not long ago (May 2004) after visiting good friends at UMo-Columbia, not far from you!

You could find worse plants to be expert on (Lonicera, Ligustrum, Ailanthus, and Alliaria come to mind). I promise to eventually comment on other genera besides Viburnum; I just need to find my motivation............

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 5a)

Hi Equil and Guy,

Wow, Equil, what a great job!

My only concern is whether the photos should say something like: "photo Guy Sternberg, Used in PlantFiles with permission".

If the photo says "compliments of" people could think that they can use the photo for free? And if they copy and paste the photo onto their web site or on the Internet, the photo will say "compliments of..." and it will look like Guy has given his blessing to use the photo. By saying the photo is posted in the PlantFiles with permission, if anyone copies the photo there will be no question of where they got the photo.

My .02
(probably just thinking too much, and believe me, that does not happen too often!)

Back before Guy subscribed here (I desperately wanted him to join after having met him a few years ago for the first time at ChiBo where he was speaking), I tried to add a handful of his photos because we desperately needed more images of trees and shrubs in our PlantFiles... I did this with his permission given he is on a dial up and would have been so frustrated loading images and timing out that he would have tossed his computer through the nearest plate glass window and then our PlantFiles would have been devoid of some totally awesome photos. What happened when I first started adding is that I found my automatic watermark that Dave provides for members here appearing on all of Guy's photos. Creates a problem for people trying to use his photo for anything without his knowledge and/or consent but it was misleading in that credit for the photo was going to me for all practical purposes. Every one of those photos I originally added was removed by Dave or Terry and replaced with photos that I edited individually with a brand new personalized watermark created by a program I use here at home on the photo denoting the image was Guy's with a little blurb about who he is. The photos were taken by him and I wanted no mistakes about that hence his name appears on the photo as well as in the remarks section.

Regarding what the watermark says, both Guy and I thought it was appropriate. Just enough but not too much. The "compliments of" as well as the "courtesy of" refers to the photo's existence at this site. There are all kinds of wonderful tools out there to protect intellectual property. You may not be aware of this but virtually anything posted on the Internet can be used for educational purposes with or without the knowledge and consent of the owner. I think Guy's big deal was getting credit for being the photographer and having something on the photo that stopped people from printing off the image and framing it for their wall. The size of his images pretty much precludes people from using his photos as art and the watermarks are pretty difficult to remove from the image.

So, you like what I did, eh? I was pretty proud of myself and his name appears on every photo too! The process of adding someone else's photos is sort of labor intensive but worth every hour spent. Which reminds me, I am going to hit Guy up for a few acorns of nuttallii. I just realized he's got that tree.

Just caught this from V V, "You could find worse plants to be expert on (Lonicera, Ligustrum, Ailanthus, and Alliaria come to mind)." Just so everyone knows... I am the expert on Rhamnus. Lord knows I've removed enough of it so I am self appointing myself expert on Buckthorn. I be the Buckthorn Queen! And the Purple Loosestrife Queen... and the Burning Bush Queen... and and and.

Fulton, MO

Hey VV, just so you know, I was being sincere...the wink at the end was a happy wink...

Now to change the topic just a bit, I have a question. When going through my photos I realized that most of them do not show just a single plant but instead they are more landscape shots. A single plant might be prominent, but other plants are in the picture. Here is an example of Centrathus ruber surrounded by Saponaria, Fringetree, Blue Oat grass, others. Will they want this kind of photo in PlantFiles?


Thumbnail by stressbaby

Beautiful photo! Please add it to the plant files. There is a space for you to add comments about your photo. There would be absolutely nothing wrong with adding your comments that, "The C. ruber is surrounded by Saponaria, Fringetree, Blue Oat grass, as well as others". This helps people focus on which plant is the Centrathus.

Although I tend to shoot photos devoid of competing plant material, I actually think your type of a photo is preferable. There are a lot of people out there, like me, who are not all that creative. It is nice for folk like us to see how a plant is actually used in a landscape. The addition and naming of the other plants companion planted with the featured plant is the gravy! It really lets you see they type of phenomenal effects one can achieve. The PlantFiles are all about balance. The boring shots like mine are "balanced" out with the more creative shots like yours. It works. I can't tell you how frequently I go to the PlantFiles to seek out material specifically looking for photos like yours to give me ideas.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

SB: I believe you. I really just wanted an excuse to be able to finally comment on Viburnum, MO as a place; you gave me a set up.

As for your photo: it is perfect to announce partnering opportunities for the featured plant, Centranthus ruber, or even Saponaria. Showing what blooms at the same time ALSO is very helpful for other gardeners to place it in time, no matter where somebody gardens. You could've told me Centranthus ruber blooms in spring, or in May, or even an exact date, but showing me that it overlaps in bloom with Chionanthus, now that means something to a guy who's all over the woody realm but remembers next to squat about perennial sequences.

I wouldn't use that photo under Chionanthus, though; it doesn't illustrate enough of the plant.

To draw a parallel, I just posted a picture of one of the variegated forms of viburnum. It's a young plant, in a group of other dissimilar young viburnums. I posted it not because it's necessarily an awesome picture, but because there are no other variegated viburnum pictures in that PlantFile AND because it shows this plant and it's characteristics relative to some of the other species present.

A question (aimed esp. at oldtimers like EQ, or admins if they're reading this): can PlantFile pics be purged, like if a better pic comes along? Or are they destined to be there for all time? I'd only request purging of my own, of course.

I'm not an old timer but I can try to answer your question. The admins here are very responsive and very reasonable and it's a big help that they are actually all gardeners. If you want to purge a photo of yours and replace it with a better image, ask. I purged the first photos I posted from Guy and I stated why I wanted to purge them and somebody took care of it and thanked me for letting them know I had screwed up. I then went back in and added replacement photos and unchecked the box that prompted my electronic water mark getting added so the replacement photos loaded with only the watermark I had created giving Guy credit for sharing his photos with us. They pretty much always take the time to get back to you and explain a process based on my limited experience in working with the PlantFiles. I find it very easy to let them know when I botched something because they don't make me feel like an idiot but more of a human being who makes mistakes that need to be corrected. I have to tell you that I load images sometimes very late at night, or with kids interrupting me to make demands, or while running up and down stairs to do laundry, as well as when I am home sick. Typing while "impaired" or distracted increases my margin of error significantly but every time I let them know I botched something, they take care of it. Does this help?

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Awwww, shucks. Thanks for the kind words, Equilibrium!

If I may point out a few tools that can help everyone maximize your use of PlantFiles:

1) If you have a pending photo, you can see your queue of "photos in waiting" on your Member page (click on "My Info" to find it.) This can help you see at a glance what you've already loaded, so you don't accidentally double up on a photo. (And if you do send something twice, just send us a note and we'll delete one of them ;o)

2) In that same area on your Member Page, you'll find links to the entries you've created, and images and comments you've added. Again, that can be handy for quickly seeing if you've already submitted something. New entries take a few hours to be added to the PlantFiles search engine - so if you add a plant, then go do something else, and want to find it again, that can be a shortcut to locating it.

3) "Report an error" is really handy for letting our editors know when a photo, a comment, a detail, or a name needs some work (whether it's your entry/photo/comment, or someone else's.) When you're viewing the entry or photo, you'll find a red button near the top right-hand corner - click on it to open a text box. Add your correction, and the system will imbed a link back to that page so our editors can retrace your steps easily.

This is a handy tool if you notice that an entry could benefit from having another photo displayed in the top position. (We can rearrang the existing photos in any order.) It also means you don't have to give too much thought to what order you submit photos for an entry - they can always be rearranged later.

4) Each night, I typically release 1-3 images from each user who has pending images. These images are displayed in our nightly newsletter:

If you submit a large number of photos, they will be released in a batch process once they've been queued up for more than 48 hours.

We really do hope that more people will get excited and post photos and comments in PlantFiles. There are many empty entries that need some TLC. If we can answer any questions, please let us know.

Presque Isle, WI(Zone 3b)

This is all too incredible! I guess in the last week I've spent way to many hours going back and forth within this web. Can you imagine a greater group of people who are interested in each others opinions. Nothing but "ups" within the forums and helps from members and administration. A nice place to be.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Here is an example of the positive ways that problems within DG were dealt with in a prior time. I'd suggest that this is a productive way to spend time during winter months, which benefits more gardeners than you can count.

Or - grouse. You pick.

Many of these individuals no longer participate; some are still here. C'est la vie. Means and methods remain constant. Of Gardeners, By Gardeners...

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