When we looked at gardening CD-ROMs in Vol. 1, No. 11, we lamented that the best one, Western Gardens, only covered half the US. Now Garden Encyclopedia (Books That Work) has been released, and it does everything that disc did and more and does it for the whole country. Garden Encyclopedia is particularly apt at providing information that will be useful to the novice as well as the experienced gardener, on all the usual subjects: plants, diseases, pests, and techniques. As the title states, it’s an encyclopedia, with entries on 100s of flowers, plants, vegetables and herbs. The entries can be searched with one of the better search engines around, which allows you to indicate everything from your climatic region to the months you want a plant to bloom, the height of the plant you want, whether the search should rule out poisonous plants, the categories or types of plants you’re looking for, and much more. And there’s a handy information box right on the search data screen that tells you how many entries will fit your current criteria, so you aren’t running searches that come back with too many or too few choices. Also helpful is an audio pronunciation of Latin names, as well as an easy way to sub-divide the entries by generalized category : “Plants for Children,” “Color Fast,” “Attract Helpful Insects,” etc. Finally, the image quality on the disc is excellent, far surpassing most other gardening discs we’ve seen. Garden Encyclopedia is a fine choice for anyone who has, or wants to have, a green thumb.
– June 1996, How-To Guides