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Plant identification book

(28 Posts)
Georgeofthejungle Mon 16-May-16 14:35:14

We have recently moved to a new house where the person before was an avid gardener. The garden is absolutely beautiful and packed! We went to a garden center yesterday and I actually took an interest in the plants for the first time and have realised the value of the plants and shrubs we have, literally thousands of pounds! I am very keen to keep them looking their best but as I am a complete novice I have no clue what most of them are or how to care for them. Could anyone recommend a good book or app that could help me?

Thank you.

todayitstarts Mon 16-May-16 14:50:25

It takes time but a good flower/shrub identifier is What Plant When from RHS. It identifies plants from their flowering time and colour.

However, the best way to identify plants is to take pics and then look at your local nursery to id. Then go to RHS plant finder to find specific instructions as to the plant care

If you are going to do it properly, you need to understand the way plants are named, or nomenclature / latin names. This sounds more scary than it is, so don't freak, but when you get it, it makes it easier to understand common principles of gardening

shovetheholly Mon 16-May-16 15:04:52

We all LOVE identifying plants on here. Post us some pictures! grin

I think you can do a hell of a lot online for free now. I would open up a spreadsheet with 'plant name' in column 1, and then the months of the year. List the things you have, and then google them and find out when they need care and what you have to do from a website. Write it down in the appropriate month. That way, you're building up a database of knowledge, and you have a reminder as to what needs doing and when! It will quickly become second nature, and you will no longer need the spreadsheet any more.

Georgeofthejungle Mon 16-May-16 15:05:17

Thank you. I guess it's a good time to start identifying as a few are flowering already.

By named do you mean catogorised? Like perennials, etc?

Georgeofthejungle Mon 16-May-16 15:09:31

Love that idea shove!! It appeals to both my obsessive nature and fondness of spreadsheets. Think I'll add a location column to help me remember too!

There are literally hundreds of different plants and I have no clue over any of them except the daffodils and tulips!! Think a little book sounds a good idea and could post pics/visit the nursery for ones i can't identify.

shovetheholly Mon 16-May-16 15:12:12

You could categorise them - it might be helpful to remind you what dies back over winter and what doesn't! I'd keep it fairly loose: tree/shrub/hardy perennial/bulb/annual.

The key is simply to have a reminder that you can look at while you learn, so when it gets to May, for example, you have a reminder to deadhead any tulips that are over and to feed them. TV shows like Gardeners' World (and the accompanying mag) do a good job of reminding you of the big jobs each week. Other gardening jobs, like weeding, hedge cutting are ongoing a never-ending task.

It can be helpful to buy some plant labels and make some simple, hand-written labels to go into the ground by each plant you've identified to remind you which is which!

It feels really overwhelming sometimes at the start, but you'll get the hang in no time!

Georgeofthejungle Mon 16-May-16 15:13:16

I should mention there are 3 gardens covering approx 1 acre all bursting at the seams! The man before lived here all his life and it's fairly evident his garden was his pride and joy!

A massive project for me. I have just recently learned to use a hoe!

Georgeofthejungle Mon 16-May-16 15:15:17

Plant labels sound like a great idea! And funny you should mention it but I bought gardeners world mag yesterday 😀

shovetheholly Mon 16-May-16 15:22:57

Google's algorithm is also bloody ace now. You can often find out what you have by typing in a simple description of what it looks like. So if I type 'evergreen shrub narrow leaves white flowers may' into an image search, I find the one in my garden- choisya ternata 'aztec pearl' within just a few results. I can confirm it by re-googling the more specific term for more pictures. You do need to look for quite a precise physical resemblance, though!

shovetheholly Mon 16-May-16 15:23:40

WOW! 3 gardens over 1 acre. I am envy envy envy.

You may have some rare stuff in there too if he was really keen!

Tinklypoo Mon 16-May-16 15:30:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tinklypoo Mon 16-May-16 15:31:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Georgeofthejungle Mon 16-May-16 15:34:02

There definitely is shove. The trip to the garden center opened my eyes, I recognised almost every plant in the place! We have a pretty big monkey puzzle and a gorgeous cherry blossom. Also some fancy old rose bushes that have a scent?Apparently they are rare.

The problem with Google is I don't have a clue if it's evergreen or a shrub or what.. I'd be saying green plant pink flowers.. I've ordered that RHR book so hopefully it'll help and I'll get my spreadsheet going!

We have our chickens in the 3rd garden which is away from the house. I want to learn about moving stuff so good plants are not wasted/eaten by the chickens.

Georgeofthejungle Mon 16-May-16 15:35:25

Never thought about the second hand shops tinkle! Will have a look. Thanks!

shovetheholly Mon 16-May-16 15:40:26

Wow, it's going to be quite a voyage of discovery as you find out what you now own! And hopefully the start of a new lifelong love of gardens!

todayitstarts Mon 16-May-16 16:01:28

Yes, charity shops are your friend for books. Local library too. And talk to your neighbours - chances are many of the plants will be in neighbouring gardens too. Also, join your local horticultural society.

JessieMcJessie Mon 16-May-16 16:50:20

A mumsnetter recommended me the Plantsnapp app the other day as I have also just moved and was having the same issues as you. You take a picture and send it to their panel of experts and they reply within 24 hours with an identification and care advice for the plant.

You get three identifications for free and then it's about 4.99 a month for unlimited identifications and advice. They also identify pests for you.

Plus Mumsnetters are great at identifying plants from photos. Here's my thread in case any overlap:

funnyperson Mon 16-May-16 16:53:32

monkey puzzle tree + cherry+ scented old roses=someone with good taste

what a treasure you have been left!

could you not ask the previous owner/gardener for his garden diary? I bet he will be only too pleased to come and tell you all about the plants!

funnyperson Mon 16-May-16 16:54:37

you could offer him cuttings in return. it is often heart breaking leaving a much loved garden and not being able to take the plants with you

Gatekeeper Mon 16-May-16 16:57:22

I am swooning at the thought of 3 gardens over an acre..PLEASE say you live in Durham so I can scrounge cuttings 😊

Georgeofthejungle Mon 16-May-16 19:47:05

That's a great idea about asking the previous owner. I think he lives in an old folks home in a town nearby. Could speak to neighbours about tracking him down. (We bought the house from people who bought it plus land and barns from him but then didn't need the house so sold it plus some land to us).

I can imagine it would have been very difficult for him to leave behind. Think he would crack up when he saw the chickens ravaging his big garden though! hmm

Unfortunately we are not in Durham but more than happy to offer a working holiday of gardening and weeding grin

Georgeofthejungle Mon 16-May-16 19:50:52

Thanks for that Jessie. I will have to get some close up pics! I tried to post a couple earlier but they won't up load.
Will try again..

funnyperson Tue 17-May-16 20:43:21

Well if you tracked him down he would probably just love to tell you all about the garden. I still miss bits of a garden I left 20 years ago! Maybe you could take him some cuttings in a pot or ask him round to tell you what everything is before he gets too old to remember!

If I ever move I am so going to dig up stuff to take away

Georgeofthejungle Sun 22-May-16 11:56:43

My what plant when book arrived. I have been in the front garden this morning and have managed to figure out a few that we have.. It would be good to know if these have more common names. I had a Google but can't seem to find anything on some.

Phlox subulata (phlox moss?)
Acer Palmatum - Bloodgood (Japanese maple)
Helleborus X hybridus
Pieris Formosa - wakehurst
Aubrieta - cobalt violet
Euphorbia myrsinites

Also discovered the tree in the front garden is a copper beach tree. It's a gorgeous colour.

shovetheholly Mon 23-May-16 09:46:00

Most of those are the names the plants are commonly known by! They are all garden stalwarts that should return year after year and give you much joy for years to come!!

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