by Donna Roth
The Internet.... what an endless source of entertainment and information it can be, especially for the gardener. There is help and fun and projects galore on line if one just knows how and where to find them. Some of the very best help the Internet has to offer those of us with dirty fingernails are catalogs with new products and plants and magazine articles, new and old, for inspiration and help. There is also fun and friendship waiting for the gardener on line for days when it is impossible to work outside.....and here I’ll investigate some of the joys of being a "cyber-gardener".
Nearly every catalog a gardener needs is now on line with the advantage of "secure on-line shopping". It is simple enough to type in www.burpee.com, www.virtualseeds.com , www.whiteflowerfarm.com for your favorite catalog, or for greenhouse supplies, www.charleysgreenhouse.com or for the unusual seeds from worldwide sources www.seedman.com. For the greatest selection of herb seeds and seedlings try www.richters.com and be prepared to shop. If open pollinated rare heirloom seeds are your cup of tea head to www.underwoodgardens.com.
There are all kinds of gardening magazines on line..... there is hardly a need to hit the newsstand for the newest issue when is is on your monitor! Look for www.gardengatemagazine.com , www.finegardening.com , www.greenprints.com , (The Weeder's Digest) www.hortmag.com or for just a wonderful outing the Chicago Botanical Garden site at www.chicago-botanic.org. I have been unable to find my personal favorite magazine, "Chicagoland Gardening."... hope it appears soon.
If you missed your favorite gardening program on TV last night chances are you can catch it on line. HGTV has a web site with many of their gardening programs, one being "Gardening by the Yard" with Paul James. Rebecca has her own web site at www.rebeccasgarden.com and www.gardenguides.com provides excellent information and entertainment. A little searching will probably find the exact program you had hoped to see.
The quality of research on the Internet is remarkable.... there is so much information out there in cyber-space that it is mind boggling! For plant identification try the gardener's search engine at www.digthenet.com or go to The Garden Web at www.gardenweb.com.
If all else fails join a "newsgroup" and get a personal answer from a fellow gardener. To join a newsgroup seek the help of your server in setting it up in your E-mail program. There are over 25000 newsgroups discussing everything possible, my favorites for gardening are "rec.gardens" and "rec.garden.roses" In any of the newsgroups you may send an E-mail to the group and get personal answers from people in the group. If you have a question about roses you must check out Socorro Roses at http://www.aoc.nrao.edu/~mstephen/ros99.htm, this site has every thing you ever wanted to know about roses with photos for identification. Children will enjoy the Kids Gardening Site at www.kidsgardening.com with gardening activities and tools sized just for them.
chat rooms and web rings
For the fun side of the internet there are chat rooms for gardeners, the Garden Web has one and there are several others found through search engines, My Season will be starting a new one after the first of the year. My favorite was www.garden.com provided by the Garden Escape and Horticulture Magazines, unfortunately GE has folded as many other dot com companies have done. Chat rooms are full of talented gardeners from all over the world who are always willing to help with a problem, try www.gardencountry.com for a fun hour of chatting. How interesting to compare perennials with a person from Russia and one from Macedonia all in the same half-hour! Be careful there, it's addictive! There is surfing through gardens on the Internet, Web Rings of gardens will take you from one garden to another by links and you can see how other people garden. For a variety of garden related organizations, try www.plantworld.com. You can find links for visiting Garden Web Rings at my web site at http://constellation_2.tripod.com