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NARGS 2013/2014

 

Greetings, fellow NARGS members! Every year I look forward to digging into the NARGS seed exchange. This year I even got my act together in time to donate some of my own seed. As much as I anticipate it, actually working through the list is a bit of a chore, with thousands of species offered, and not much in the way of information.

Nowadays, the internet is the quickest (although not necessarily the best) resource for horticultural information. Just about any plant imaginable is described, but not always in ways useful to gardeners. Google searches on botanical names bring up scientific papers, not-so-useful pseudo-information pages, and plenty of spam, alongside the more useful entries.

To help myself and others more quickly find information about plants that is of general value to gardeners, I've recently built PlantLinks, a directory of links to good horticultural resource sites, arranged according to botanical taxonomy. Only a limited number of sites are included, but between the lot of them, the majority of plants commonly (and not so commonly) used in gardens are covered pretty well.

I use PlantLinks when trading seeds and researching new plants to grow. It occurred to me how nice it would be to integrate its features with the NARGS exchange list - and so I did. Here's how to use it:

On the select page, you'll find a list with all the entries from this year's seed list. This is where you can make a pre-selection, to create a shortlist of species in which you may be interested: just click on entries you'd like to add to your shortlist.

When you've accumulated a list of entries for closer inspection, you can go to the weed page to find out more about the shortlisted species. Here, if a species in the catalog is featured in PlantLinks, its name is a link to the PlantLinks page for the species; also, each species has a Google search link, for access to additional information, and of course for those species where PlantLinks comes up empty. You can remove entries that upon further inspection aren't so interesting, and compile a list of "definite" wants. You can use this later to fill out your order form; note that this website isn't in any way connected or affiliated with NARGS - there's no way to complete an order form here, I just hope to provide a more efficient way to narrow down your selections.

You may want to copy and paste your shortlist selections from the shortlist window into a more permanent location on your computer, in case the information from the cookie is lost at some point down the road: it may come in handy during the second round of "leftover" ordering!

This NARGS corner is a semi-private part of my website - it is not protected by passwords, but intended for use only by NARGS members. If you have any question, comments about how it works, or suggestions on how to make it better, please let me know - you can reach me at rob at robsplants.com.

Without further ado, why not jump right into the catalog?