Luxembourgh Times
The Garden Path

Snappy apps for gardeners

Friends away on holiday and not much to do in the garden? Look at these five apps to keep you in the mood.

© Photo credit: Shutterstock

Faye Peterson

Summer - the season of vacations, lonely chat groups and the silence of subdued social media. Who can you turn to for help and advice during this growing period? Apps means help is only a click away.

More and more savvy growers are reaching for their smartphones, downloading their virtual gardening genies. Cheaper than hired help, and always available, here are five apps ready to do your bidding at the push of a button.

RHS Grow Your Own Take advantage of the Royal Horticultural Society's expert advice. With detailed instructions on growing, sowing and harvesting, this app gets you organised – a monthly list of gardening tasks keeps you on track. Select from a comprehensive list of fruits and vegetables suitable to your space and skillset. The app is UK-centric, but similarities to Luxembourg's climate makes this a good fit.

The Pros: * Easy to use * Free to download for iPhone and Android users * Monthly task list * Add plants from a comprehensive list of fruits and vegetables

The Cons: * No option for real-time weather updates or seasonal algorithms based on geographical locations * Companion plants, such as flowers, not available to add * UK-centric

iNaturalist This application consistently features in top 10 lists of nature apps, and for good reason. Part of an initiative by the National Geographic Society and the California Academy of Sciences, iNaturalist uses a community of specialists to identify plants, animals and fungi you can log from anywhere in the world. Your observations become the collective data underlying studies taking place around the world - allowing you to become a 'citizen scientist' on a global scale. The Pros: * 35 different languages to choose from * Easy to use * Become a citizen scientist on a global leve/scalel * Free to download for Android and iPhone users

The Cons: * Lacks data on a number of lesser documented species, such as nocturnal creatures and those living in specialist habitats. * Can fail to recognise dates or locations of photos from certain users. * Identification is not always reliable

Plant Snap Join a community of plant lovers and instantly identify over 600,000 types of plants: flowers, trees, succulents, mushrooms, cacti and more. With over 50 million members in over 200 countries, this popular app also allows you to connect with people - not just plants.

The Pros: * Easy to use * Eco conscious - in 2021 Plant Snap planted a tree for each person who downloaded their app. * Create your own reference library of plants * Algorithms are improved every month by user input.

The Cons: * High quality, detailed photographs are required to correctly identify plants * Payment is required for the 'Pro' version * Plant advice can vary from very detailed to extremely sketchy

Shroomify Need to identify fungi fast? Then the Shroomify app is for you. Pre-loaded with over 1000 high-quality images and a list of common mushrooms to identify. Shroomify uses your location to load only the fungi relevant to your country or region, enabling you to recognise mushrooms based on their shape, name or colour. With a list of monthly mushrooms to look out for and useful information on both the edible and deadly fungi in your area, this app is a forager's friend. The Pros: * Simple to use * Free to download for iPhone and Android users * Tailored to your geographic location * Works offline for easy field identification when foraging

The Cons: * Uses algorithms. No substitute for expert advice and mushroom identification * Not possible to share data or chat with others from the foraging community

Waterbug With the strapline, 'You may never get your shi*t together. At least now you’ll be able to keep your plants alive’ this app sets its cheeky and concise tone. Make plant care a walk in the park and take advantage of Waterbug tips on light, pruning, fertilising and pest control, in addition to the regular reminders to water thirsty species. Choose from an online library of plants to get started.

The Pros: * Easy to use * Tailored plant care recommendations and reminders

The Cons: * Pay to use * Only available to iPhone users