The Manifesto

At plantality we looked at what plant wikis existed on the net. Apart from one, where every entry was empty, all we found was content aimed at botanists, full of technical terms and with little, if any, information about how to grow a plant. We decided to remedy that with a site for gardeners to share their knowledge with each other.

We believe every gardener is an expert in his or her own field (or yard). Each gardener is the most knowledgeable person about what grows in her own green space. Every gardener knows something they want to share with fellow gardeners. It may be an entire genus. It may just be a single plant on a windowsill, but you are the expert.

And a database about plants is no use if you can't search it. Of course, all databases can be searched by name. But that's only useful if you know what you're searching for. So we came up with a list of over 200 categories into which plants could be divided, and we created a plant finder so users could easily search on those 200+ categories.

So, we have our two basic tenets:
Create content for the ordinary gardener;
Make it easy to find what's in the database.

Some tips for creating wiki content:

  • Give advice from one gardener to another - advice on how to grow the plant in a real garden.
  • Bear in mind that the term gardener can encompass a whole range of experience levels from the newbie to the expert.
  • Aim content at gardeners rather than botanists - avoid technical terms like 'lanceolate' and 'umbelliferous' (with the added provisos that some jargon will always be unavoidable, and we certainly do not want 'dumbed down' content).
  • Facts do not need to be heavily researched and cross referenced - whilst scientifically researched facts are highly welcome we also aim to capture how real gardeners are finding plants grow best.
  • Be aware of other variations of English, e.g. colour and color, garden and yard. Both are acceptable.
  • Give measurements in both imperial and metric.
  • Fill in the facets page as well as you can - it fulfils the aim to make stuff easy to find.

 

Things to include:

  • Sizes and rates of growth.
  • Notable features (flowers, fruits, leaf and stem colours).
  • Colours and their seasons of display.
  • Growing conditions: soil, sun, moisture levels etc.
  • Uses: where a plant looks good.
  • Drawbacks: is it invasive?
  • Other plants to combine it with.
  • Aftercare: pruning, feeding, deadheading etc.
  • Propagation: how to sow seed or take cuttings.
  • Origins: where a plant originates from and it's history.
  • Medicinal and culinary uses.