Locally Made Outdoors

Muddy Boots Plants Tags

Fothergilla species

By Jay Salton

Given the biodiversity of our region, it is natural to meet many avid gardeners and to come across many, many more species of plants. But with the thousands of species that grow in Appalachia, even the most knowledgeable gardener can run into problems remembering all of their plants’ names. That’s why local garden designer Nancy Duffy came up with the idea for a smart phone and computer application that gives gardeners the ability to tag plants and keep organized digital records for their garden.

“I have many friends who have lovely gardens and we all occasionally stumble over remembering plant names or recalling where we got some garden treasure,” says Duffy. “I guess seeing this in others and experiencing it myself, these thoughts percolated in the back of my mind until last July, when I literally woke up in the middle of the night with the concept for Muddy Boots Plant Tags.”

She shared the idea with her husband, Dennis, a software developer who saw its promise, and the prototype for Muddy Boots Plant Tags was born.

There are two essential components. One is an aluminum, interactive tag that is attached to plants and scanned with a QR code reader on a smart phone, displaying plant data, including common and botanical names, where the plant was acquired, when it was planted, garden location and any notes the gardener has made about it. The tag is made to persevere through rain or shine and last for years in the garden, just like the plant it resides on.

The other component is a web-based record-keeping system that can be constantly updated by the gardener— essentially an online garden journal designed to make it easy to search through all the information entered over the years, from fundamental information to personal notes and photos.

Following the launch of the app in late 2016, the Duffys are working on promoting and sharing the results of their hard work. On June 24, Bullington Gardens of Hendersonville, which has already started using the app on 100 of its plants, will be hosting private garden tours of some of the most impressive gardens in South Asheville and Biltmore Forest. Two of the six gardens featured, including the Duffy’s own beloved garden, will be using the Muddy Boots Plant Tags system. Visitors will be able to download a free QR code reader on their smart phones and scan tagged plants to gain valuable information straight from the mind of the people who know the plants best: the people who take care of them every day.

As for the future of Muddy Boots Plant Tags, the Duffys hope that gardeners and public gardens across the country will learn about their tags. Beginning this month, they plan on offering customized tags that have information printed on them, in addition to the QR code to scan. More than anything, it will, hopefully, add some helpful, stress-free fun for any gardener in need.

More information on Muddy Boots Plants Tags can be found at muddybootsplantags.com.

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