Frequently Asked Questions:

General QuestionsPlantScout Vendor Questions

    I can't get signed up!

    Here are tips to help overcome the most common problems:
    • Be sure you're trying to sign up here  (The two log-in boxes on our main page are where you'll log in once you have a username.)
    • Don't add spaces or characters (an underscore "_" is the only non-alpha/numeric character that can be used.)
    • Your chosen user name may already be taken; the more common the word or name, the more likely it is to be already in use.
    • Enter a valid email address in the second field, not your choice of passwords!  Our system will send you an initial password which you can change after logging in.
    If you continue to experience problems, please contact us for assistance.

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    I'm already a member, but I can't get logged in!

    If you know your username and your email address in our system is still valid, you can ask the system to send you your password. That's by far the easiest and fastest way to get logged in. Other common problems:
    • Your username is not your email address (we don't allow the "@" or "." symbols.) If you've forgotten your username but you know the email address you signed up with, contact us.
    • If you modified your password after your initial login, you may have accidentally left an extra space at the beginning of it. Try typing with a space first and see if you can log in. (Once you log in, you can edit your password field to remove that extra space.)
    • If you change your password, the original password will no longer work. If you can't remember what you changed it to, you can ask the system to send it to you or contact us for assistance.

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    I need to change my personal information

    Assuming you are logged into the Dave's Garden site, you can change your email address and other information on your preferences page.

    If you're not logged in, you'll need to do that first.  Once you do, find the "My Info" link (it's in the colored bar of links, just below the main feature tabs across the top.)

    Click on "Manage your preferences".

    Within this area, you'll find you can review and edit your email adddress, your city, state, ZIP and USDA zone, time zone, birthdate, and many other personal details.

    It's important to keep your email address current! If you forget your password, you can have the system automatically send it to you at the email address on file anytime, day or night.  If your email address on file is defunct, you'll need to request your password from our helpdesk, which is not staffed 24/7.

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    Can I customize my homepage?

    You sure can!  Your homepage is set to a default format that we think is pretty good, but you can rearrange the items any way you'd like and have as few or as many as you want to appear in this area.  Make sure you're logged in, then click on "My Info" (link is in the colored bar of links, just beneath the main feature tabs.)

    Then click on "Manage your preferences" to access your personal information.

    First click on the "Forums" link (left-hand column) to select the your top favorites to appear on your homepage (You can always access ALL forums from the "Forums" link, but selecting your favorites gives you quick and easy access to your must-read forums.)

    Now click on the "Customize Home Page" (left-hand column) to choose the items you'd like to have appear on your homepage, "disable" those you don't want to see, and decide the layout.  You can specify which items will appear in either the left-or right-hand column, and the order (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) they will be displayed in.   Once you're through making your changes, hit "Update" and go to your Home page to see if it's what you intended.  You can tweak the layout as often as you like.

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    Favorite forums? Bookmarks? I'm confused!

    1) Why have favorite forums?

    Selecting your favorite forums is a great way to create a personal portal into Dave's Garden. You can add as many forums as you'd like to your favorites, but since the "Discussion Forums" area lets you see all the forums at a glance, we recommend that you pick out just the true favorites to appear on your homepage. It will help make your homepage less cluttered and allow you to keep close tabs on the forums you are most interested in.

    2) What's the difference between bookmarked pages and favorite forums?

    Tagging lets you pinpoint specific pictures, posts, or threads you want to be able to get back to quickly. Every thread, post and enlarged photo will have a bookmark icon in the upper right hand corner, which you can click on to save a link to that page, then you can choose the word or phrase you want to "tag" that link with for easy reference.

    Selecting your favorite forums will let those forums greet you every time you click on the "Home" tab.

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    I need help identifying a plant (or pest or disease)

    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 two free ID forums where our members provide their expertise on images and descriptions submitted - one for plants and one for bugs. You can also use PlantFiles and BugFiles for more information and photos once you have some idea of what you're looking for.

     Typically, items are positively  identified within a day or two of submission - if you start a new thread, be sure to monitor your Home page for alerts when others have posted their ideas and suggestions.

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    I'm looking for these seeds or plants

    Our PlantScout tool can help you find who is selling the exact plant (or seeds, bulbs or cuttings) 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.

    Members and companies also are selling plants, seeds and other gardening-related merchandise in our Dave's Garden Marketplace.

    You can search all the tradelists for 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 oldest and most popular gardening forums and all the other subscribers-only features, you can subscribe here.

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    Do I have to subscribe to use your site?

    No. As gardeners, generosity is second nature to us, so we offer dozens of free forums (look for those without a red asterisk (*), plus these unique and valuable features completely free of charge to all members:
    • PlantFiles
    • BugFiles
    • Garden Watchdog
    • Go Gardening
    • PlantScout
    • Bookworm
    • Glossary (including Botanary, Gardenology and Insectipedia)
    • Your own customizable homepage
    • A personal garden diary and journal to record notes and images
    • A new fun question each week to vote on and discuss with other members
    • Optional weekly newsletter recapping the daily changes and additions to the site.
    You need to register for a free username and log in to take advantage of many of these features. If you need assistance, please contact us.

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    Why do you charge a subscription for some forums and features?

    Dave's Garden is the oldest and largest member-supported gardening site on the web, with many forums and other premium-level features available only to our subscribers. Google ads and forum sponsorships from relevant advertisers appear to non-subscribers; these ads are typically home and garden-related products from reputable vendors we permit to advertise here. Subscribers can choose to turn off the banner ads and enjoy the site ad-free.

    We do not sell, rent, or share our members' email addresses, or place spyware on your computer like many "free" sites do. The subscription revenue helps offset the expense of hardware and software required to maintain the entire Dave's Garden site.

    Dozens of our discussion forums are free to all registered members.  When you click on that link, the forums with red asterisks (*) are available to subscribers; the others are free.

    In addition to the dozens of free forums, we continue to offer many features free to all our users - the Garden Watchdog, BugFiles, Go Gardening, PlantScout, the Bookworm, a garden journal and diary, trading tools, and an optional weekly newsletter are just some of the free features anyone can enjoy.

    Subscribed members can participate in all our discussion forums, plus twice a week live chat sessions, and have unlimited access to PlantFiles and its advanced features. If you're ready to subscribe, you can join the thousands of gardeners from around the world who proudly call Dave's Garden their "home."

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    How much does a subscription cost?

    A one-year subscription is $19.95, or you can try a two-month trial subscription for $5.

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    How do I subscribe?

    Once you're logged in, go to the subscription area by clicking on "Preferences" in the menu bar at the top of any page, then follow the steps to subscribe.  Orders are processed via Paypal. If you do not have a Paypal account, you can use their guest checkout to pay with a credit or debit card. 

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    Can I buy a subscription for someone else?

    Yes! A gift subscription to makes a thoughtful and useful birthday, holiday or "just because" gift for other gardeners in your life.

    The first and most important step is to make sure your gift recipient has their own, registered DG username! If you know their email address and feel brave enough to choose a username for them, you can log out and register one for them, then log back in as yourself. Or they can sign up themselves first.

    If you are certain you have their username and you are logged in under your own account, access this Subscriptions link and choose the option to purchase a gift subscription (two month or one year.) Click on the link for the option you'd like to purchase and type their username in the box and press "search". When you've confirmed the username, you will proceed to the Paypal checkout.

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    I'm a new subscriber and I need some help!

    Once you've taken our short tour you should personalize your profile  which will help you navigate the site.   Click on "My Info" in the tabs above, choose "Manage your preferences" and be sure to review the main page, as well as update your "forums", and "location" pages (links are on the left-hand side.)

    Now you're ready to visit the forums.  Click on the tab above and then click on any forum name to see the current discussion threads within that forum.  When you see a thread that you'd like to read, click on the subject to see the initial post, plus any and all replies.

    A few additional tips to help you navigate around easily:
    • Try going to the Welcome Mat forum first.  It's a great place to introduce yourself and practice posting a message.

    • The "New?" column makes it easy to know which threads to click on. This column will indicate a post is new only when someone (other than yourself) has replied to a thread after you last posted orread it.
    • "Watching" threads is a great way to keep track of the threads you want to closely monitor.  Anytime you read or reply to a thread, you have the option to start watching it. Then, whenever a new post is made to that thread, you'll get a message at the top of your home page.
    Be sure to hit the "home" tab or Dave's Garden logo frequently when you navigate around the site (if you hit only the "back" browser button, your page won't refresh with new posts.) 

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    Can I vote in more than one category in the voting booth?

    The weekly voting booth question is a fun way to introduce a new topic for all members (non-subscribers and subscribers) to discuss throughout the week.  The questions are designed to encourage you to choose one answer, so we only allow you to vote in one category.  (At least half the fun is posting a comment explaining your vote or discussing the designated topic!)

    You can always CHANGE your vote - just select a different response within the poll and your previous vote will be replaced.  This ability comes in handy when we have a botany "quiz" for the weekly question (a botany quiz appears every 3 to 5 weeks as a fun way to increase our gardening expertise.)

    Look for a new question to appear each Monday morning, and - as a politician once said -  please vote early (and often!)

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    I have a question about the newsletter

    NOTE: We offer two newsletters: a weekly email newsletter, and an online daily digest.

    Our weekly newsletter is sent out every Monday morning, chock-full of articles, a plant-of-the-week, a botanical word-of-the-week, all the daily featured photos, and a recap of the previous week's activity on the site. You can opt in or out of the newsletter thorugh your Member Page. (You must be logged in to Dave's Garden to click on any of the newsletter articles, since those are links to content you'll find here on the site. You'll also need to login if you wish to make any changes to your member profile, including opting in or out of the newsletter distribution list.)

    The daily newsletter is available through the "News" link For a lot of Dave's Garden members, the daily digest is a great way to start their day, just a couple clicks away!

    Both newsletters are free to all members of our site, and we hope our members enjoy discovering all the activity that takes place each week within our forums and features. Feel free to send along your email newsletter to your gardening friends, and invite them to sign up so they can receive their own issue each week!

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    What's the chatroom?

    The chatroom is a virtual gathering place for gardeners to chat with one another.  Instead of talking, it all takes place via typed messages.

    Our chatroom is moderated and is open twice each week:
    • Tuesday evenings from 7-10 PM (US Eastern Time)
    • Thursday mornings from 7-10 AM (US Eastern Time)
    The chatroom is one of the features offered to our subscribed members.  A reminder appears on the homepage a few hours before each scheduled chat session begins.  We hope you'll pull up a comfy chair and join the fun!

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    How do I enter the chatroom when it's open?

    When the chatroom is open, an icon on the homepage serves as a link to the chatroom itself.  Click on it, and you'll be taken to the chatroom.

    NOTE:  You must have the proper Java applets installed to participate in the chatroom.  If you click on the link and cannot see the black screen with white text, you'll need to check your settings and/or install the appropriate software.  Please let us know if you need assistance.

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    What's d-mail?

    DG member-to-member messages (aka "d-mail") allow you to correspond privately with another person, similar to email.  But a member-to-member message system has two important differences from your typical email program:

    1) Your correspondence is done in a single "thread" - similar to our forums, but this is a message between just you and the other person.

    2) Your email address is never revealed to the other person (and you don't see their email address, either.)

    The first difference is important because it means your message can't be completely deleted.  If either of you deleted it, the other person would not be able to read or respond to it.  (In a traditional email system, each person retains a copy of the correspondence and can choose whether to keep or delete their copy without affecting the other person.)  However, you'll find a "delete this" link above each message when you're reading it - click on that button to create a "deleted" folder.  (See the next FAQ for more information on managing your dmail.)

    If you send a message and it goes unread by the recipient for 48 hours, they will be sent a reminder note to their personal email inbox, telling them they have a message waiting at Dave's Garden.

    The second difference is important to maintaining your privacy.  At Dave's Garden we do not sell, rent or share your personal email address with any third party.  Our unique message system was created so we could keep that pledge to you and help keep "spam" out of your email box.  If you correspond with someone and they ask for your personal email address, you should probably make sure there's a good reason to do so before you hand it over.

    To find a particular message, you can sort your inbox by clicking on any of the column headings (sender, recipient, date, subject); you can also search for a message by a username or key word(s).  If a message is one you want to keep "top of mind", you can "save it as new" so it will remain visible from your DG Home page until you re-read it or reply to it.

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    Can I send a dmail to several people at the same time?

    Yes! "Blast" dmails are a handy way for DG members to announce an upcoming event, or for the organizers of round-robin trades and group purchases to notify the entire group of important deadlines. The first step is to create the group of recipients:

    1. Click on "My Info" link (in the top bar of links, where you found the FAQ link);
    2. Select "Manage your friends and groups"
    3. Use the text box to assign a name to your group and press "create the group
    4. Add all the usernames you wish to include in this group (you can add and edit it later if needed.

    Once you've created a group, access your dmail and click on "Compose Mail". The system will offer you the option of selecting a single recipient, or creating a "blast" message to send to one of your groups.

    An important point: a "blast" is a one-way communiation. When anyone within the group responds to your "blast", that becomes a one-on-one dmail between the two of you (their response is not seen by the rest of the group.)

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    If I can't delete messages, how can I manage my inbox?

    Good news!  You can set up one or more folders to manage your inbox of dmails.  (You can instantly create a "deleted" folder by clicking on the "delete this" link at the top of a message you're reading and want to send to this folder.)

    To set up a folder for anything else, follow these easy steps:

    1) Access your Mail inbox.
    2) Click on the "Folders" hyperlink to the left of your messages, and beneath the links called "Inbox" and "Drafts".
    3) Type the name of your folder in the text field and press "Finished"

    Repeat this process as many times as necessary to set up the folders that will help you manage your inbox.  You can rename and delete any folder, too.

    Once you've set up a folder, you can move some - or all - of your inbox messages into it.  Just go to your inbox, and select the message(s) you want to move by clicking on the box to the left of each message.  Once you've clicked on everything that is going to a new folder, scroll down past all the messages until you see the pull-down list next to "Move selected mails to" - click on the list and select the appropriate folder, then press "Move these mails".

    Once you've done that, you can click on the "Inbox" link to see what's left in your inbox, and repeat the process to move other messages to other folders.

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    What's an Uber?

    So you've seen this strange word under a few usernames and you want to know what's an "Uber"?  A link within PlantFiles explains the details, and provides a list of the Uber gardeners and their areas of expertise.

    Long story short, Uber gardeners demonstrate an uncommon level of commitment to helping make PlantFiles as complete and thorough as possible.  When you access PlantFiles, chances are good that the information or images you're enjoying were submitted by one of these super-contributors.

    Some Ubers have been members of our site for several years; others just a few months.  Anyone can become an Uber gardener; it just requires expending considerable time, effort and knowledge to help the PlantFiles grow.

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    I've read this FAQ and I still have a question

    You may find the answer to your question within one of the other tabs (each has its own FAQ section, with questions and information specific to that feature of our site.)

    If you've checked the other FAQs and can't find an answer to your question, use the "Contact Us" link at the bottom and tell us your question.  We'll do our best to answer your question promptly. Subscribed members can also post their question in any appropriate discussion forum (DG, General Discussion, etc.) for peer-to-peer assistance.

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