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These Web sites help you plan, enjoy your landscape

Whatever your interest, it seems that there are at least a thousand Web sites that cater to it. When it comes to gardening and landscaping, it’s more like a hundred thousand with more being added every day.

You could spend every waking hour for the rest of your life sitting in front of your computer and browsing through horticultural Web sites instead of actually getting outside with your own landscape!

No, I’m not suggesting you do that. But there are some fascinating sites that can be very helpful and provide you with the information and the inspiration you need. Here are just a few that you might want to check out...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/htbg/ The “htbg” in the Web address stands for “How To Be A Gardener” and this site, produced by the BBC in Britain, is one of the most comprehensive and entertaining sites you can find. Developed with the assistance of the Royal Horticultural Society, the site includes a step-by-step virtual gardening tutorial that allows you to award yourself a diploma when you successfully answer the test questions!

As site host and TV personality Alan Titchmarsh writes on the Web site’s home page: “ Let’s face it, gardening can be pretty daunting. All those Latin names, the bugs and blights that can attack your plants just when they’re looking their prettiest. How does anyone manage to grow anything?”

Dig around on the BBC site and you can even create a “virtual garden” on your PC so you can see what your landscape ideas will look like before you ever apply fork to soil!

http://landscaping.about.com/ David Beaulieu is the editor of this “About” site dedicated to landscaping and gardening ideas. The site is an excellent resource for landscaping articles, pictures and design tips. You’ll find articles on garden plants, trees, shrubs, patios, decks, pest control and lawn care, as well as ideas for low-maintenance landscaping and reviews of landscaping equipment.

It’s a good idea to bookmark David’s Web site and visit it often, because the content changes almost daily.

http://www.conifersociety.org/ If you have a problem or a question regarding a conifer, this is a good place to start. You’ll find a wealth of information on junipers, chamaecyparis, tsuga, thuja, torreya, cryptomeria, pinus, cephalotaxus, calocedrus and more.

http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/ Sometimes, the government really IS here to help. A case in point is this useful site hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You’ll see a map of the USA and when you click on your state you can retrieve information on the Extension Service closest to you. The folks who work at these Services are always willing to offer advice or help you find the assistance you need.

http://www.aabga.org/ Ready for some great inspiration or just a fun day out with the family? Visit this site hosted by the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta and you can find information on public gardens close to you or across the country.

http://www.gardenweb.com/ This site describe’s itself as “The Internet’s Garden Community” and that’s a pretty fair description. If you need information on a specific plant, you can click on their Botany A to Z or dive into one of their huge selection of forums. As they say, “You name it, chances are we’re talking about it!”

http://www.landsteward.org Yes, a little shameless self-promotion here! Among other useful stuff, you’ll find an archive of every Plant Man column. And if you go to the site and find this column under the Plant Man heading, you can click on direct links to every Web site mentioned here.

So there you have it. Just a few Internet sites that can add to the enjoyment of your landscape.

The Plant Man is here to help. Send questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to [email protected] For resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve’s free e-mailed newsletter, go to www.landsteward.org