Remember when we first got our iPhones?  It was all about the apps. Mine is still loaded up with six screens worth, only 4-5 of which I use on a regular basis—a weather app, whatever will find restaurants and stores, Hootsuite, Facebook, and the Public Radio station finder/player. (I’m not counting email, pictures, music, GPS, and other basic iPhone functions.)

Back in those days, we blithely demanded more gardening iphone apps, specifically searchable perennial databases, weed finders, a Farmer’s Almanac, and some that now exist, like Dirr’s Tree and Shrub Finder.  There are now plenty of plant-list-type apps on iTunes now. I would download them, except I suspect they would sit untapped with all the rest while I use google.

The Audubon guides are great—although these would not work in the wild if you need to be connected—and if I’m home I’d as soon grab a book. There are also ID type apps like Leafsnap. Unfortunately, with Leafsnap, you have to place the leaf against a white piece of paper. Well, if you’re home doing that, you could also use a book—any good tree book will have leaf close-ups. Another fun nature app is Chirp, which helps you ID birds by their calls. (Actually I like to just play the bird sounds; it makes my garden sound way more diverse than it really is.)

Here’s what I don’t need or want, even to sit ignored on a screen along with RouteShout, PocketFlicks, and GroceryZen—any of the “design your garden” apps out there. These are silly by definition, because nobody would ever put together a garden using  templates (like the one above) and plant lists. That’s not how a gardener does it, anyway. 

There are many of these, each as ridiculous—and usually strangely awkward to navigate—as the next. We get emails about them regularly, and I usually ignore them, but I will single one out from Holland Bulb Farms called iMyGarden. This is actually supposed to get you to order bulbs through the app; the design part is—charitably put—incidental.  It gives you 3 templates—a mailbox, a tree well, and a front yard, and then a list of plants you can fill them up with. And—guess what!—all these plants are bulbs that can be ordered from Holland Bulb Farms! In fact, you can do it right then and there, through the app.

I love my iPhone, but if this is the future of gardening apps, like I said—I’m over it.