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NEIGHBORnwork For me, as an individual user who collects and grows plants in my garden at my house, the thing that makes me smile every single time is when I scan a Plants Map tag, the page opens, and I can add my photos to my plant web page in just a few seconds. I hear from a lot of users that Plants Map really helps them tell the story of their garden and their plants. We have a lot of users who want to educate people about a certain type of plant, like pollinator gardens or plants for green roofs or champion trees from each state or something very specific, like the benefits of growing milkweed for the Monarch butterfly. Tracy regularly says she likes to have her “garden in the palm of her hands” when she is out working with her plants. She keeps all of her notes about when something was fertilized or which type of fertilizer she uses for a particular plant. Any other useful features? There is a feature on the site where, when you find someone on the site who has interesting plants, you can follow them, and when they post, your “Home” page shows their updates. There is also a feature where users can “Connect” with organizations. This feature is also used if an organization has multiple people who want to add and edit content for the organization profile. What is a typical work day like for you? Our team of about 20 spans multiple time zones. I normally wake up at 6:00AM to have a Skype conference with our team in India, and then I head to the office. My office is in the Rappahannock Area Goodwill Industries headquarters in Fredericksburg. The workers there run the equipment that makes our interactive tags and signs, and they handle our inventory and shipping related to the plant tags we make. Usually by mid-day, I’m somewhat caught up, and then I can talk with the sales and marketing team on the West Coast; we sync schedules and make plans for reaching out to new businesses and organizations to share our story.

When I get home at night, I try to give some good attention to my two border collies and then have dinner, and it’s back to work for an hour or two to catch up on emails before a little bit of sleep. We are a startup, so there are no set hours. All hands on deck are required at some times. My main goal is to keep PlantsMap.com growing and to make sure our users are very happy. What advice would you give to gardeners in the greater DC-area using your website? We are asked a lot about where people can go to download our app. There is no app. PlantsMap.com is a website you can use on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Think of the things you already record about your plants and your garden during the growing season. Most gardeners keep notes or take photos of their plants, trees, and flowers, and a majority save the tags that come on their plants. All of those things can now be stored on plant web pages for each of your plants, and you can keep all your photos organized in the cloud with your notes and create a journal that you can continually edit over time. Don’t feel overwhelmed about adding your whole garden. Just add a few plants with a few photos and a story about why a given plant is important to you. Make a note about the fertilizer you used. Record where you bought the plant and make notes to remember if you would buy more. Save the links to websites you used when you were looking up information on the plant. Then, after a month or so, you’ll want to show someone your garden photos or share some information about your plant and you’ll have it right there on your phone! You can also create a collection for your wish list and put in the plants you are researching or on the lookout for next time you are out shopping. Where will you go from here? Any coming changes to your website? New ideas? We have a lot of development in the

pipeline. We are launching a new section called Resources, through which someone can bring you a load of mulch or come aerate your lawn. You’ll be able to find nurseries that sell plants online and you can go visit their sites. Up until now, we’ve only had the ability for people to add plants and collections. The Resources section will let people add gardening and landscape products and services. We are also launching an Events section. Organizations can map and post events to their profiles for their members and promote their meetings, open houses, garden tours, plant sales, etc. to the broader Plants Map community. A project that we internally call “Plant Managers” is being tested now for Iris collectors. People who collect a particular plant often record details in their journals that don’t apply to other types of plants. We’ve built a new “tab” on our plant pages where we can turn on those specific fields just for that type of plant. We have a “Trees” tab for groups who manage urban forests and it includes about 70 fields specific to their work. What plants are your favorite to use in your home garden? I like to find unique plants that aren’t in most garden centers. For instance, I just purchased a Japanese Apricot Tree (Prunus mume) that is common in Asia, but not found around here until about 20 years ago. I also am a member of the American Conifer Society. I watch for their Collector Conifer of the Year list to come out and have purchased a lot of those for my landscape. Two that have been spectacular in my yard are Pinus nigra ‘Moseri’ and Pinus virginia ‘Wate’s Golden.’ How can your readers reach/contact you? Email me at bill@PlantsMap.com or call 540.424.7577. You can also follow me at http://PlantsMap.com/bill-blevins. o Seema Vithlani is a Washington Gardener intern for spring 2016. She is a junior multiplatform journalism major and French minor at the University of Maryland.

MARCH 2016

WASHINGTON GARDENER

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Profile for Kathy J

Washington Gardener Magazine March 2016  

In this issue: ~ 7 Stress-free Perennials that Work Hard for You ~ Growing Colossal Cabbages ~ Your Monthly Garden Tasks To-Do List ~ Behind...

Washington Gardener Magazine March 2016  

In this issue: ~ 7 Stress-free Perennials that Work Hard for You ~ Growing Colossal Cabbages ~ Your Monthly Garden Tasks To-Do List ~ Behind...