And I would argue that that's one of the best parts of gardening. But there are times when a little bit of technology is a great thing.
Imagine yourself at your favorite local garden center. You're looking at a pretty little hosta when across the way something catches your eye over in the annuals section. It is a brilliant clear blue flower and you've never seen anything like it before. You run over to check it out and start reading the tag. You will probably find about a 15-word description, that it likes sun and how big it gets. But you don't know if it will bloom all season, or if it will fade out in heat. You're not quite sure what plants would compliment it in a container. You're left with two options: buy it and take a chance or go home and research it further and then hope it's still available when you get back to the garden center. Of course you could always ask an employee, but what if you went on Saturday and every employee is up to their ears in people asking questions.
I'm thrilled to say that this scenario is now a thing of the past. Proven Winners is now putting QR codes on their plant tags. If you don't think you know what a QR code, you've probably seen the digitized little squares before, perhaps in a magazine. Using a smart phone, you scan them (I downloaded the free "Scan" app onto my iPhone) and are immediately taken to a "microsite" on your phone for that plant. There you'll be able to read much more about it and see photos. In other words, you're going to get a lot more information about a plant than they could ever fit on a plant tag.
Wanna give it a try? OK, go get a QR scanner for your phone. There are tons of apps out there for this, some paid, some free. The one I downloaded seems to work just fine and got good reviews. Now activate your app and just hold your phone's camera in front of the code on the tag below. It should take you right to a site with container gardening tips (obviously on the real plant tags it will take you to a site about that plant, but this one is just a generic one to show you how it works).
That was fun wasn't it? Do you want to try it again?
That one will take you to Tim Wood's blog The Plant Hunter, which you can now read on your phone. Pretty cool, right?
See? A little well-placed gardening technology isn't such a bad thing after all.