As the great Voltaire once wrote, the act of "tending one's own garden" is perhaps one of the most valuable things we can do. But there was a time when gardening was limited to people with enough land to plant crops. That categorically excluded large swaths of the metropolitan population who called home a large apartment building without a tree in sight. After all – and this is channeling Voltaire again – "man was not born to be idle." Nope – humans were born to garden. And with the official onset of spring, there's no time better to do that than now. From aspiring crop tenders to seasoned plant-o-philes, these apps can help anyone tend their garden. Just be sure not to actually bring your iPhone too close to the gardening excursion, or you may find it covered in dirt and requiring a trip to a cell phone repair shop.
- Landscaper's Companion: Do you know how to properly care for an Albuca? Neither did we until we perused this app. Now we know that optimal conditions for this plant – which finds its roots in Africa – are average water and a shady climate. After growing at a moderate rate, we can expect them to reach a final height of a foot and a half. How do we know all this? Because we checked out Landscaper's Companion, an app that prides itself on offering "the most comprehensive plant guide on iPhone." This app is perfect for all the novices among us – people who've always wanted to tend to crops but have been too scared about doing it wrong. This app provides only the most salient details for more than 26,000 plants, according to its description on the Apple Store. The information it provides on each plant can make actually growing things a breeze, since the app will tell you exactly how much water each plant needs, how fast you can expect it to grow and when it will be in full bloom. Because of its ease of navigability and the helpful data repository it offers, Landscaper's Companion finds success among professionals and amateurs alike. Brodie Beta of the Globe and Mail raves that "Landscaper's Companion comes out ahead due to its rich search features, custom offline content and nurturing instructions," while Jessica, a landscaper, says that the app "is great!!! As someone who works as a landscaper and nursery retailer/buyer this is most helpful for my customers." Unless you're one of those people who enjoys the mystery of growth patterns – and wants them to remain that way – this is the app for you.
- Gardening Toolkit: What would a gardener be without her tools? This app acts as the ultimate tool: a kind of administrative overseer of your crop cultivation operation. Equipped with features that enable you to track the progress of your garden and monitor the growth of specific crops, this app is like mission control for your basil and tomatoes. Among the features it offers are a photo depository for you to monitor specific plant growth and a calendar that helps you decide when is the best time to plant certain things. Reviews and users seem to feel that this app may be just as important as the ubiquitous trowel, with Appfreak blog writing, "If you do any gardening or just have some pots at hope to get started, Gardening Toolkit is a great app to have."
- FlowerPedia: Some people garden in order to eat. Others garden to look at pretty flowers. This app is for that latter category, and it does exactly what you'd expect: provide a veritable treasure trove of floral fun. Containing information for more than 150,000 flower species, the app makes it easy to identify particular plants with its country-and-state-based search engine. What sets this app apart from the others on this list is the interactivity built into it. Not only can users identify the location of flowers in their area, but they can also share that data with their network of friends. This interactivity is actively helping to build the most comprehensive flower locater out there. Now, thanks to the community that it's fostered, users of the app can find particularly cool flowers that might be growing in some hidden cranny in their neighborhood. Considering that this is an app about flowers and how cool they are, the reviews are understandably effusive, with FOX News and The Times U.K. placing it among the top apps for springtime.
The transition from a sedentary winter to a lively spring does not have to be an onerous process. Instead of working up the energy to go to the gym, you can get that requisite active time by doing something as old as time itself: tending to your garden.