Wired up: On-line gardening

It's April, time to don the gardening gloves and fluff up the compost heap in time for summer. But while the Internet does not at first appear to have much in common with outdoor activities, it is in fact a fertile seed-bed of horticultural information.
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The Independent Culture
GREEN FINGERS

www.gardenguides.com

This is one of the most professional horticulture guides on the Internet. It includes a gardening tip of the day, and carries a huge amount of bang-up-to-date information about caring for your garden, which you can also access via the email-based newsletter. The main index page is very user-friendly, with sections divided up into different categories, such as annuals, bulbs, perennials and vegetables. Particularly handy is its herb index which gives you superb information on everything from lungwort to marjoram. Also, be sure to take a moment to check out its "herbal companion" chart, which tells you which types of herbs do and - perhaps more importantly - don't make good bedfellows. You can also get advice on the best way to landscape your herb garden.

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A ROSY FUTURE

garden-gate.prairienet.org

Although it suffers from an American bias, this is one of the best places to start if you're a beginner in the gardening world. Most of it consists of links to other gardening sites but they are extremely well chosen. Its "reading room" has a great selection of on-line magazines. Worth checking out here is Dig magazine (www.digmagazine.com) which runs essays on gardening and horticultural subjects. Garden Gate's website hosts catalogue and book reviews and has a tutorial section, through which both beginners and experts should be able to find the answer to just about any question that they want. And if you still need inspiration, there is also a list of sites allowing you to tour some other botanical gardens and greenhouses from around the world.

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THE BEST OF THE REST www.internetgarden. co.uk HHH

An excellent site containing hundreds of useful links for plants - everything from hothouse to carnivorous varieties.

www.gardenweb.com HH

This site tends to be too American-biased but has some useful pages on a whole variety of subjects. Its information for rose growers is especially good.

gardennet.com HHH

If you're looking for a site with real scope and depth, try visiting Garden Net. It includes a comprehensive directory for raising every conceivable plant from bamboo to water lilies.

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/hcs.html HH

If it's hard-core scientific information you require about a gardening topic, you could well locate it here. This site possesses a huge amount of information about crop science and other related subjects.

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