Best gardening apps for a blooming British summer

Summer is finally here, so it's time to get those fingers in the dirt and do some real gardening with the help of these great mobile apps.

Garden Compass

Garden Compass app

Price: Free

Operating system: Android, Apple

Garden Compass is a useful app whether you’ve got a window box or an acre of land. Its easy-to-follow advice is great for novices and pros alike.

It puts 50 of the world’s leading garden experts in your pocket. Take a photo of a plant or flower, hit send, and you’ll get advice about what it is and how to look after it.

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The free version gives you three credits when you download for three identifications, then one a month after that. For unlimited questions, Premium membership costs £4 a month or £36 a year.

Premium membership also lets you build your own garden in the app. The Care Calendar will automatically give you advice about how you should be looking after your plants each month, while geolocation data ensures you get the right information for your soil type and climate.

BBC Gardeners' World

Gardeners World app

Price: Free app, issues £3.99/£2.99/£2.37

Operating system: Android, iOS, Kindle Fire

The UK’s best-selling gardening magazine now has a digital issue available in Google Play Newsstand and the iTunes Store via the Newsstand app.

You can join Alan Titchmarsh and co every month or take out an annual subscription.

Fans of the print edition will know the score: there’s plenty of seasonal information on the best new plants to try in your garden, step-by-step projects to follow, practical advice on farming your own plot and tips on encouraging the right kind of wildlife to frequent your flowerbeds all year round.

Unfortunately the digital version doesn’t include any new videos from the TV show, which would have been a helpful and welcome addition. But the beautiful photography of the magazine will look great on your iPad or Android tablet. Try it out with a free 30-day (single-issue) trial.

Garden Manager: Plant Alarm

Garden Manager plant alarm

Price: Free

Operating system: Android

The forget-me-not of gardening apps, Garden Manager’s main selling point is the ability to set alarms for watering, fertilising and treating your plants, ensuring that absent-minded folks aren’t left with a garden full of dead lettuce and half-eaten petunias.

The app also lets you keep a virtual journal on plant measurements (which are viewable on a graph), plant health and the weather conditions they’ve been exposed to, all while adding photos and notes along the way.

If you’re particularly proud of your gardening skills, you can share your blooming garden on Facebook and Twitter. Gardeners can also back up their progress in the cloud via Google Drive integration.

What more could you ask for, apart from a healthy mixture of sun and rain, that is?

Garden Plan Pro

Garden Plan Pro

Price: £7.99

Operating system: iOS

This app might be expensive, but it is worth considering when it comes to effectively planning your vegetable, herb or fruit garden.

There’s a host of flexible drawing tools that enable you to work with any size or shape of garden. You can allocate plots, resize them, rearrange them and name them while the app also offers intelligent advice on crop spacing, crop rotation, optimal seeding and harvesting times in your area.

As the app syncs your data between multiple platforms you can also view your plans on iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC platforms.

Once you’ve shelled out for the app, that’s not the end of the road either: Garden Plan Pro offers personal email support from its team of experts.

Landscaper’s Companion

Landscapers Companion app

Price: £9.99

Operating system: iPhone, iPad

For green-fingered Apple fans, the Landscaper’s Companion app is a great reference guide with information on over 26,000 plants in 17 categories like bulbs, ferns, grasses, palms and more.

There’s information on maturation periods, water needs, bloom times, necessary sun exposure, common uses and cultivation guidelines, giving users all the information they need to discern whether the plant is suitable for their patch.

There are 21,000 photos to view, and gardeners can add their own plants and photos while keeping notes on their own gardens.

But again, it is pricey.

Garden Answers Plant ID

Garden Compass plant identifier app

Price: Free

Operating system: iOS

If you’re struggling to identify that rogue plant growing amidst your hydrangeas or the pest destroying all of your good work then this app is for you.

All users need to do is snap a photo of the plant, pest or disease in question, upload it to the app and sit tight until a member of the team gets back to you with identities of species and, if necessary, recommendations on how to deal with the problems.

There’s not a lot more to the app than that. But this very basic, free and helpful tool alone could help rescue your garden from catastrophe or help you decide whether to weed out that unidentified species or let it flourish and bloom.

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