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Your best plant-finder site (outside GoY*s*)?


Anyone have any favourite sites they turn to when they want to look up a plant?

GoY is the first reference, of course! But when I need to look up a plant’s details, size, growth habit, etc, I need to go outside.

1 – BBC Plant-Finder:

Massive site, large and clear layout, all relevant information at the top of the page.

2 – Dave’s Garden:

that’s a US-based site, but the plant info should still apply.

3 – RHS Plant Selector:

it’s not higher on the list because I didn’t have much success with the plant I was trying to find at the time – can’t remember which, or I’d try again.

Do other people have favourite places that they’d share?

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I always start with the RHS plantfinder. A Google search can also bring up some interesting results

14 Feb, 2012


lol don't it just! most of them trying to sell plants, rather than give info about them.

14 Feb, 2012


I go to books first - my RHS encyclopedia and my Flora published by Cassell. Then Google.

14 Feb, 2012


I'll start doing that again when I can finally unearth my gardening books from the stack waiting to be housed - I have virtually the entire range of Gardn Expert (apart from Lawn Expert, never wanted a lawn even if my garden would give space for one)

Prob is, matching snippets of info from different books: I tend to put them into Word documents, adding to them as I find a bit more; at least that way it's all in one place and I can search for key words. Besides, if I keep the files on PC I can make the text as large as I need, rather than squinting at small rpint, and trying to read Latin names in italics!

But finidng out about a plant that's new to me means trolling through each book until I find it; it's often not in the most obvious book, or at least not all of it is, so it's back to online and search, and add those data to the plant fiels, too.

14 Feb, 2012


I also go from goy to the plantfinders but then I go to my books as well, got loads to browse through and I do love my books..

14 Feb, 2012


smiles, I've added a few hundred "maybes" to my plant lists, just from the books.

14 Feb, 2012


I use Google and triangulate between forums, nurseries and collectors sites.

15 Feb, 2012


Shoot's quite good - except I've noticed they sometimes get their height and spread measurements wrong. Dave's garden I find not very useful. Best is probably the RHS, but of course, they don't always have every plant on there. BBC one is okay, but is often short on full info. So, like everyone else, it's books first, Google second - then a look at various selling sites to compare the info they give. If they give much, they don't all, do they...

15 Feb, 2012


The BBC classification of plants into "beginner-experienced" categories has been enough for me to put a question mark against some plants - mostly what I look for is simply to find out about a plant that someone's mentioned in GoY, what it is, what it looks like, height, spread and similar very basic info.

*s* But at least it's right there at the top of the page, and at least it's large enough and clear enough for me to be able to read without strain - a lot of sites put me off cos the text is (to me) tiny and not very easy to read. I usually cross-check any plant that I'm seriously interested in at least twice: Dave and Google, then a few sites from the serch.

What I find irritating is that it's either feast or famine: I've tried searching both BBC and DG for a named plant, and get everything that has any of the words in it, rather than just the one plant that has all the words in it - been trying to find out more about some dwarf conifers, but it's a deep wade sometimes - and then they seem to have everything *but* the exact named plant!

15 Feb, 2012


Well yes, Google has its limitations - I often forget to put plant on the end of a search, so Rosa Dorothy, for instance, may well yield details of someone's Facebook page or social networking site or photographs, with no reference to plants at all. Wikipedia can be useful too in this area though - but the info does need confirming elsewhere.
By the way, I was told by my son a while back now that, if you use inverted commas around the name of the thing you're looking for, Google treats it as a whole rather than looking for the individual words as well. No idea if it works, not tried.

15 Feb, 2012


I like to use both G. o.Y. and book's, as goyer's have their own favorite plant's that is the hand's on information I like best and I can see the plant in situ. I do have a few favourite book's one is an older Reader's Digest and as I just love hardy geranium's I have a good book about them( it was recommended by a goyer) :-))

15 Feb, 2012


I've got the Reader's Digest one, its my favourite, also have the RHS one - but unless you buy them every year, they're not up to date, there's so many new plant introductions all the time.

15 Feb, 2012


I don't have any favourite place but I do tend to use Google first & then very often any Wikipedia results first. I've used both BBC & RHS plants finders but rarely find them very useful - or perhaps the info I'm looking for isn't the info they major in!

I've checked out the plant finder on here as well on occasions but find there are often too many plants to go through. Although I do like the idea of checking what somebody has written about them & photos on them.

As for the Google search using inverted commas it does work & does search for whole words. If more of us did that then we would waste less time trawling through pages of no relevance & would find much more of what we are actually looking for.

I have a A-Z Encyclopaedia of Garden Plants but it is such a big, heavy book that I seldom get it out. Besides which it doesn't list plants by their common name/s but by their botanical names - which is the best way of doing it of course, but if you've no idea of the botanical name of the plant you are looking for then you are reduced to looking through 100s of pages, at the pictures, in the hope of stumbling across a photo of the plant & hoping you will recognize it!

When I do get it out though it is difficult to put down again!

15 Feb, 2012


That's the kind of books I've got, Balcony - RD and the RHS one. I think the RHS one has a list of common names in the back somewhere... and the RD one has some common names under alphabetical listing, in between Latin names.

15 Feb, 2012


I use the RHS one a lot - so much in fact that my copy is now disintegrating. I also have the RHS one of perennials but annoyingly, that doesn't give the spread, just the height

15 Feb, 2012


putting names in quotes does work sometimes - but not on all sites: with the BBC, it tends to turn up "no results" even though, if I take the quotesoff and plough through the pages of resullts, it's sometimes there.

one can also try advanced search in Google - you can put words to be excluded, or words that have to be included, filters out some of the dross.

GoY is great for pictures of plants, and sometimes that's all I want - but specifics about expected eventual heigh or spread are sometimes hard to find.

I don't tend to buy encylopedias, because of the sheer bulk of them - given my visioon, it's a bit hard on my shoulders to hold one of them up within inches of my nose so I can read them!

Thanks to everyone who's added their pearls: I would have answered a bit sooner but had a glitch, keyboard suddenly stopped working! tried another keyboard, no go; phoned my "pc expert", he said, go out annd buy a usb keboard; I tried another keyboard, restarted,the PC and hey presto! so much for "experts"

15 Feb, 2012


Just looked for a plant on Karen't blog: Skimmia Japonica 'Fragrant Cloud' - tried the BBC plant finder, it gave me every plant that had the word "Japonica" in it, pates and pages! took out the "frangrant cloud" and put the other two words in quotes; it found two Skimmia Japonica, but neither the Fragrant Cloud, sigh

Dave's Garden did the same, and RHS couldn't find anthing at all. heigh-ho, back to Google

15 Feb, 2012


I just put it in my search bar Fran and the RHS finder has it, shows a pic and lots of info to read as well..

15 Feb, 2012


wow! will have to try again.

I copied the whole plant name, all four words, and pasted it into RHS "Search by name" - got "0 results for Skimmia Japonica 'Fragrant Cloud'" -

took the quotes off the last two words, tried again, got same answer

took off the last two words and just searched for Skimmia Japonica - 4 results, including a "Fragrans"

just shows that being inexact can sometimes have better results! *s*

15 Feb, 2012


I often go around the houses before finding my way Fran, lol..

15 Feb, 2012


lol think Dave's Garden takes the cake - I put in the one word "conifers" and it said, 0 results, try being less specific". how less? "tree"??

15 Feb, 2012


The other thing about Dave's Garden is, it sometimes has a Google listing when you're searching for a plant, but when you click on it to go to Dave's, there's no information present on the plant anyway.

16 Feb, 2012


it's not the only site that sneaks to the top of the list! the times I've seen "buy xx on eBay", I've gone there and there's been 0 results. I did email them and say that this was false advertisign, which would be illegal if it wren't on the internet, and should be illegal there, too.

I'm mostly Googling now, and saving each search page, then going through each link, well, as far as I can be bothered! - and every time I find a new snippet, adding it to my Word file for that plant. sooner or later, I should get all relevant info!

The prob with too many references is that it can't half get confusing! especially when A contradicts B, and C don't agree with either of them ...

And it's not as if I don't have about 20 pages of plants culled from the Garden Expert books that I also want to find more info on

16 Feb, 2012

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