Introducing Garden Explorer, Our Online Plant Database
By definition, botanical gardens are supposed to maintain an active record of their plant collections. A well-maintained plant records database helps maximize the value of a garden’s plant collections by increasing the potential for educational opportunities, research, conservation and enjoyment of the gardens. It also helps us maintain a historical record of our plantings and make decisions about future plantings.
Over the past few years we have had major changes to the outdoor gardens at Myriad with hundreds of new plants being added each year. In order to effectively manage our plant records, we purchased a plant collection management program called IrisBG. Our horticultural staff has been working diligently over the past couple years to input the plants in our collection into this database, fill in relevant information and add photos. This software has already been proving useful internally. Now we are making this useful resource available to the public by providing online access to the database through Garden Explorer. Garden Explorer is an online tool created by IrisBG with several cool features that allow a more in depth look at our plants and gardens.
The primary feature is the search feature. Guests can search for a specific plant by common or scientific name or a group of plants in a certain family or in a specific area of the Gardens. Clicking on any of the plants returned in the search results will give information on that plant including photos, if available, and even show all the locations of that plant on a map of the Gardens.
Guests can also use the map feature to explorer the plant collection by zooming in on an area of the map to reveal the plants in that section. Guests with mobile devices that have GPS can actually use the Garden Explorer map out in the Gardens. It will track their movement throughout the Gardens and help them find a specific plant or simply reveal more information about the plants around them.
Another fun feature of the Garden Explorer site is the option to select a tour through the Gardens. These thematic tours are prepared by our knowledgeable staff and include detailed descriptions of highlighted plants. Current tours available include drought tolerant and colorful plants for each season and fragrant tropical plants of the conservatory. Look for additional tours in the future that might highlight medicinal, edible, pollinator plants, staff favorites or other groups of plants. Tours can also be accessed on a mobile device.
For our guests without access to a mobile internet device, we will be installing a computer in the Visitor Lobby of the Crystal Bridge Conservatory with access to Garden Explorer this spring. We will also be providing print-outs of some of our seasonal self-guided tours at this location.
You can visit our Garden Explorer Website now at myriad.gardenexplorer.org