things and places for homes and gardens

Operation Plant Lust, an Update

Tuesday 11 August 2009 - Filed under Business

I’ve roped some of you into some questionnaires and looking at early prototypes of a project I’ve been planning for too long now, so you may know, I’ve been planning a garden reference website, code named Plant Lust. I’ve been working on it as a side job to my day job, then my freelance jobs, then my new job. Good news & bad news. Mostly good news for the gardening set, and a little bit of an adjustment and a wake up call for me to get moving with my own plans. I was looking through my flickr stats the other day, and saw I was getting hits from a place called egardenhome, a new site that launched in June.

It’s in part what I was thinking for my first release of Plant Lust – a book-like plant reference along side the things the internet does well – ratings, reviews, photos. It kind of took my breath away how similar our thinking was, down to the photo grid and search and filtering layout, and I allowed myself a day of shock and, I’ll admit, a little depression that I might have waited too long.

Since this was part but not all of my plans, I wanted to let it roll around in my head for a couple days and see if I could figure out a new strategy that didn’t involve me following along behind an already existing tool. My original plan was to start with a plant database as a first step to some later developments. I’m rethinking how I approach this now, and I have to concede, I think this is a gift. I think I have figured out a much simpler approach, a quicker way to get this thing started, and a much more logical progression. I’ll have some time to work on it over the next week when I’m on vacation in New York, and then the moral of the story for me is, don’t wait so long!

For those of you who have been kind enough to help me out, with questionnaires and looking at prototypes, this is worth checking out, since it has many of the features you said you would use. They are still working on building out content, it’s not a comprehensive plant listing, but it’s a good start. Take it for a test drive. I’d love to hear your thoughts. I hope it takes off and evolves and becomes the kind of online plant reference I’ve always wished existed. Onward and upward.




2009-08-11  »  megan

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Talkback x 11

  1. tina
    11 August 2009 @ 8:58 am

    It’s an okay website. Very similar to Dave’s Garden with the info. I didn’t see any one on one personalization though. This is the part the Internet cannot provide. I did like the search function as it opens a whole new world of possibilities for gardeners who aren’t familiar with plants.

  2. Loree
    11 August 2009 @ 9:00 am

    Well I must say I certainly admire your attitude about the whole thing. Reading this post I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach and Plant Lust wasn’t even my baby! It is down right freaky how similar they look at first glance. I look forward to checking it out in depth. Is it small-minded of me to hope I find it clunky and hard to use? And back to how you discovered this – they aren’t using your pictures are they? Is that ok? And how do you even check your flicker stats? God I live the the tech-data dark ages!

    p.s. let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

  3. megan
    11 August 2009 @ 12:02 pm

    Tina – interesting, your comment about one on one personalization. I’m intrigued. I agree, the search is nice, I did some experimenting, and it’ll look for a keyword in different fields, which is nice if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.
    Loree – It took me a couple days to see the bright side, but I really do, now that I’ve figured out a way to get where I was trying to go a little faster. I think since it’s new they’re bound to have some stuff they’ll end up fixing, but it’s a good start. It sounds like their vision is to be a local resource, with hopes that community additions can expand it further, so we’ll see. I’d love to talk to the guy and find out more about the inspiration and direction, maybe there’s some common ground. On flickr, I think the rule is, you can use someone else’s photo as long as you credit them and link back to their photo on the flickr site. If I remember right, you get stats if you upgrade to a pro account, and then you go in to You > Your Stats and opt to turn on tracking. That’s how I remember it, anyway, but it has been a while since I turned them on. It’s fun to see what people are searching – for instance I had no idea a dwarf mugo pine would get so much action.

  4. Grace
    11 August 2009 @ 1:52 pm

    Hi Megan~~ I’m not sure I have an opinion. If I Google an unfamiliar plant, I usually discover a new online nursery [with the plant info] that I bookmark for later perusal and possible purchase. Other than Google, I don’t have one particular source for plant info.

  5. Karen
    12 August 2009 @ 7:43 pm

    Oh hell to the NO! I would not share your attitude – I would be hurling pillows and hollering. I don’t think there is any way it would look as cool as the prototypes you showed, and doubt they will feature the cool plants you would have. I agree with Loree, just reading this makes me feel ill. I am boycotting their site out of solidarity. So sorry, all that work. Well, as you say, perhaps you have found a way to make PL something else and not so time-consuming as what you had originally envisioned. It’s so hard to enact a big idea like you had on a timely basis, what with with work, life, kitchen floods, foster animals, not to mention actual gardening. I had a stupid idea for a set of children’s books, “Whose Toes are Those?” “Whose Knees Are These” and “Whose Hat is That?” and guess what? I saw them in a bookstore last year. And that would have taken me all of 10 minutes to rough out, your ideas are so much huger in terms of implementation and impact. Well, I am going on and on here but I feel terrible for you and hope you are truly doing okay with this. You have my deepest sympathies here. Grr.

  6. Karen
    12 August 2009 @ 7:44 pm

    PS Your site name is way cooler. :)

  7. george
    13 August 2009 @ 12:02 pm

    i don’t see egardenhome having a distinct advantage over dave’s garden. sure, it looks (slightly) better. but there is way less information compiled. thats all i am after– information.

    i love the way that dave’s garden has the “official story” on a plant then follows that with everyone’s personal experiences piled below. its a bit clunky and has lots of misinformation in there- but its still the best the web has to offer.

  8. Alice Joyce
    16 August 2009 @ 2:08 pm

    Realize I need to clarify my previous comment on your update post. It’s amazing that you came upon a site so much like the one you’ve been planning. Frustrating, and awfully disappointing – a bummer! Your response is incredibly gracious! And I, for one, am truly impressed.
    With that kind of character, I’m sure your attitude of onward and upward will come back around to you in positive ways that may not now be evident. Alice (Bay Area Tendrils)

  9. megan
    16 August 2009 @ 7:56 pm

    Grace – thanks for your thoughts on this – I tend to find things the same way, and I’m always happy when a search leads me to a hot new source.
    Karen – I appreciate the support, and yes, my name is MUCH cooler, thanks to you :) . No worries, though, I think this will all turn out for the best. Good inspiration struck while I was on vacation, so Plant Lust isn’t going anywhere, just a slight adjustment in approach. I know the feeling with your fantastic book ideas – I usually sit on ideas and then eventually someone else actually follows through and I’m kicking myself. This is the first time I’ve put time in, but I’ve got more tricks up my sleeve.
    George – thanks for your perspective, I agree, good rich information is the thing we gardeners need. If Dave’s Garden could get a bit of a makeover on the “clunky” factor, it would be a wonderful improvement, but it’s still valuable for all that data!
    Alice – Thank you for such kind words. It took me a little time to get the perspective to see the silver lining, but I really do think we’re all going to get a lot more online gardening resources as time goes on, and really, the more the merrier. There’s still plenty of work to be done to get us all access to good information at our fingertips, so any strides we make in that direction is a good thing!

  10. Scott
    18 August 2009 @ 10:02 am

    Hey Megan. I’m the creator of eGardenHome…and yeah, your name ( rocks! My site used to be called, but I switched it to to include home design as well. I came up with the idea to allow people to share garden plans with others online. I built the plant database last year in my spare time. Last week, I released a (very beta) version of the home and landscape design software. It ties into the plant database and will (hopefully) allow people to share their ideas (and get help) in a visual sort of way.

    It sounds like we share the same idea when it comes to the plant database. Sorry to hear that finding my site sent you into a mini-depression. I had my own episode a couple months ago when stumbling across another site that does online home design. Eventually, I got over it realizing that we all have to find our own niche…mine being garden plans.

    Anyhow, I hope things go well for you. Feel free to reach me at

  11. megan
    2 September 2009 @ 3:22 pm

    Scott, thank you for your comments. I would surely love to follow up with you and se how things are going. I’m impressed with what you’ve been able to do in your spare time. I’ve toyed with the idea of building my site myself, but my programming skills are rusty, and were never that great to begin with, so I’m on the very slow pay for it myself plan. Hope we can chat more, I’ll email you, and best of luck in your project, I hope it’s a smashing success.