Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Garden Compass App

It's been a busy few months! I unexpectedly sold my house to my neighbor's sister and managed, within a couple of months, to find a newer bigger and better home that's 15 minutes closer to work. It was a little more than I originally planned to spend but still affordable. I had an awesome realtor to help me with the journey. If you're looking for a realtor in the Redmond area, Mark Mizuno from John L. Scott is your guy! He's got mad negotiating skills.

I was debating whether to get a house with a smaller yard with closer neighbors or a house in the boonies with acreage or somewhere in between. Either way I wanted to be a little closer to work. I decided on a large 3 bedroom that looks like it's in the boonies but is actually only a couple min drive from Monroe. I'm on .5 acres in the Sky Valley and the majority of it is heavily landscaped. There's probably at least 100 trees, flowers and bushes on the property to take care of in addition to 6 chickens and a decent sized garden and greenhouse. The grass looks small in comparison but it appears to take longer to mow than the old house so I may be investing in a riding mower in the near future. It will be more work than the old house but much more rewarding.

I couldn't identify half of the things growing around my new yard so I decided to try an iphone app called Garden Compass. I've read about many apps that you can take a picture and it will immediately tell you what it thinks it is and most of them don't work as well as advertised, very inaccurate. This app however works differently. You take a picture and it emails it to a team of plant identifiers and someone actually looks at the photo and tries to identify it. If they aren't positive what it is they will let you know and may ask you to send in another photo when the plant is flowering to be sure. I only had that happen with one of the plants I submitted and the answers I got all seemed to be pretty spot on from what I can tell.

The pros of the app:
  • Free
  • 20 submissions per month
  • 24 hour response in most cases
  • Accurate
  • Easy to use
  • Some helpful info about the plant is included with the identification response
  • Can also identifies plant problems and how to fix (have not used this feature yet)
The app is great but it also has room for improvement and more features.
  • Not all past answers are viewable in app so keep your email notifications
  • No easy view of past answers. Could use a table view of past answers viewable on PC (outside of app)
  • Lots of ads in app when viewing past answers. Need paid version with no ads.
  • Could use a searchable database of own submissions as well as others and include fields for amount of sun and water needed for each plant.
These were my 20 submissions for the month of August:
  1. Asian Stewartia (stewartia)
  2. Twisted Locust (robinia pseudoacacia) 
  3. Contorted Filbert (corylus avellana ‘contorta’) 
  4. Honeysuckle Vine (lonicera) 
  5. Turtlehead (chelone) 
  6. Meadow Rue (thalictrum?)
  7. Matrona Stonecrop (sedum matrona) 
  8. False Spiraea (astilbe chinensis) 
  9. Japanese Iris (iris ensata) 
  10. Phlox (phlox paniculata)
  11. Lupine  (lupinus species)
  12. Gayfeather (liatris spicata) 
  13. Epimediem & Oxalis (triangularis) 
  14. Variegated Red Twig Dogwood (cornus alba) 
  15. Weigela (weigela cultivar) 
  16. Doublefile Viburnum (viburnum plicatum tomentosum) 
  17. Goldflame Spirea (spirea x bumalda 'goldflame')
  18. Lily of the Nile (agapanthus) 
  19. Smoke Bush or Tree (continus spp) 
  20. Meadow Bistort (persicaria bistorta)
Landscaping Collage
iphone images sent to Garden Compass
Back Yard
The back yard with garden, fruit trees and chickens.
Front Front Yard
The front yard at the end of the drive way
Front Yard Front Yard Another View
The front yard between the house and garage