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Plant identification - how?

(20 Posts)
margaritasbythesea Fri 18-Oct-19 20:29:51

I have inherited a lovely and unusual garden with the house we've just bought. It is quite densely planted and clearly with a lot of care. The man who designed it worked in plant research. I really want to know how to look after the plants. I can't ask the previous owners as they have passed away. A lot of things I recognise but lots I don't. Is there some kind if website or app that might help?

EdithWeston Fri 18-Oct-19 20:36:31

Join the Royal Horticultural Society

They have brilliant help/anquiry lines for members, and no-one in U.K. knows the stuff better than they do

TummyTurtle Fri 18-Oct-19 20:43:48

I have taken photos of plants in my garden and reverse Google image searched them. So far I have always found out what the plant is. Failing that, post a pic in the gardening thread and ask wise gardening mumsnetters if they recognise it!

I have recently bought "The Apprehensive Gardener" which goes through month by month what plants need attention. You can look through at the beginning of the month and make a to-do list of jobs, or you can search the index in the back for a specific plant and see what months you need to pay it some attention.

rslsys Fri 18-Oct-19 22:29:40

PlantSnap on your phone!

margaritasbythesea Sat 19-Oct-19 13:29:06

Thanks i shall have a look at all of those. I feel a great responsibility to keep it up.

MereDintofPandiculation Sun 20-Oct-19 09:28:29

The RHS publishes an Encyclopedia of Plants which has hundreds of plants classified as tree/bush/climber/perennial/annual and by colour and season of flowering - you may be able to pick up a copy in a charity shop. If you've got a good nursery or garden centre near you, visit that - especially if you have a few guesses as to identity. There's nothing quite like seeing the plant in the flesh for confirming your id.

General rules of thumb - don't pull up any "weeds" until you're quite sure you've identified them (your identification skills will rapidly improve!). Anything that needs pruning - prune when it finishes flowering. If it flowers very late in the season, it might be better to prune in March rather than November. (Once you recognise that something is being grown for its berries, obviously don't prune after flowering - but losing the berries for the first couple of years while you're learning is not a disaster).

Above all, try to relax and enjoy your garden. All the "rules" are best practice for optimum growing - not "do this or your plant will DIE". Some plants will die - nothing lives for ever - any owner of a mature garden welcomes the resulting planting opportunity.

margaritasbythesea Sun 20-Oct-19 09:35:14

Thank you MereDintofPandiculation. Thise rules of thumb are very useful.

margaritasbythesea Sun 20-Oct-19 09:35:42

Drat. Those.

cometothinkofit Mon 21-Oct-19 18:41:49

If he worked in plant research, then you may have some unusual varieties there, maybe even very rare. He may have even bred new varieties and you have literally the only example. No pressure then grin

It could be worth contacting an agricultural college that has a horticulture department (or even the RHS itself) and explain the situation. They might want to come and have a look.

thirteenbooks Tue 22-Oct-19 07:18:50

There is an app called PlantSnap that might help as well. Not sure how good it is with unusual plants but we found it useful when we got our first garden last year and didn't have a clue blush

ChardonnaysDistantCousin Tue 22-Oct-19 07:24:43

If you have a forwarding address just ask him.

Gardeners are usually very happy to share knowledge and he probably will be happy to know someone wants to look after his plants well.

ChardonnaysDistantCousin Tue 22-Oct-19 07:25:27

Oh sorry, I got exited about the plants and didn't read the whole OP.


ChardonnaysDistantCousin Tue 22-Oct-19 07:25:45

excited even.

MashedSpud Tue 22-Oct-19 07:34:08

I tried two plant id apps with no luck and last night DH was surprised with google photos (not sure if it was an update) because it would give info about your photo and compare with others.

He found out what my plant was in a couple of seconds.

ListeningQuietly Tue 22-Oct-19 17:16:36

Join the RHS, ask take photos, send them to the advice service

FloraMacDonald Tue 22-Oct-19 17:19:00

I use an app called seek. It's not 100%, but it's quite good.

ListeningQuietly Tue 22-Oct-19 17:21:23

but the apps are highly unlikely to have obscure variants of things

FredaFrogspawn Tue 22-Oct-19 17:25:46

Do you have a good on-line community locally, like Next Door?

If you put up a notice outlining your dilemma, I bet you’d get some lovely local gardeners willing to pop round and mentor you. Especially if you allowed cuttings.

FredaFrogspawn Tue 22-Oct-19 17:26:37

You’d make a few new friends that way too.

margaritasbythesea Tue 22-Oct-19 19:39:38

I would like to join a local group but I have not heard of one yet. I shall try the suggestions. I've taken photos of the main shrubs so will start there. Thanks for your suggestions.

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