The iTunes store is not making things easy with its mind numbing array of garden design apps—all of which promise to change your life. We sifted through the clutter, tested a ton, and came up with ten apps that actually do what they say they do:

What's your favorite gardening app? Tell us about it in the comment below.

Photographs by Michelle Slatalla.

1. Garden Designer, $9.99 from Artifact Interactive

  • Lay out a garden by tapping on and moving around a host of symbols: plants, buildings, paths, ponds, garden furniture etc. For instance, open the list of trees and choose "small, " "leafy, " "fruit tree large" or lots of other options. Tap on the circular green tree symbol and move it to a grid. Tap again and a blue box appears around your choice. (takes practice: one of my circles elongated into an oval and refused to return to round, forcing me to delete it and start over). The app will give you the dimensions of the objects you add—but you have to keep track of whether it will all fit.

2. iScape—Design Your New Surroundings, $9.99 from Home Revivals

  • Improve the curb appeal of your house and have fun doing it. Take a picture of your home (or your backyard) with your iPhone or iPad. Then landscape it; iSpace offers all sorts of plants, planters, and "textures" (lawns, pavers, mulch, gravel, water, tar etc.) that you can add to your design app for iPad l gardenista ion, two taps adds it to the photo. After you finish, you can save it to an album, print it, or email it. This app is intuitive and great fun to use. However, the image database is limited and I was never able to view the choices in "Hardscapes" because when I tried (numerous times) to download that category, the app crashed.

3. Garden Plan Pro, $9.99 from Growing Interactive

  • Aimed at the serious vegetable, fruit and herb gardener, this app helps plan for next year's harvest. Fortunately there is a video tutorial to get you started, because the app has many features and, on first look, does not seem intuitive. It will find your location and keep track of plants to grow in your climate and when to plant them. With free registration at, you can keep track of your garden, store a backup plan, and receive email planting reminders. Save up to five years of garden information, including notes about your successes and failures. It will remember where you have planted your crops and alert you if you need to rotate something to a different location.


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Bird gardens

Bird Gardening
How to attract birds to your garden
There are very few of us who do not enjoy the sight and sounds of birds in the garden. Even in the gray of winter, our feathered friends bring you joy and happiness as they flirt playfully about the feeder bringing color and excitement to our lives.
Like all wildlife, birds need reasons to be attracted to our property. Stocking a winter feeder or providing a few birdhouses or a birdbath is a good start. By adding a few basic requirements in the form of landscape plantings, we can attract and keep birds of many species close to our homes

Attractions: Dec. 26-Jan. 1  — Bradenton Herald
No tours Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Call for admission prices. The park grounds are open 8 a.m.-sundown daily. Information: 941-723-4536. Manatee Village Historical Park: 1404 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton.

On Display  — Albany Democrat Herald
Brownsville Art Center, city hall, 255 N. Main St.

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Mobile Application (TI Media Solutions Inc.)
  • Access your current THIS OLD HOUSE Magazine print subscription in tablet form
  • Get your THIS OLD HOUSE Magazine Tablet Edition on your Kindle Fire
  • Find fresh design ideas for every room
  • Enjoy creative DIY solutions and step-by-step projects
  • Note: By downloading this application, you agree to the End User License Agreement (including the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service referenced therein) which can...
Electronic Arts Inc. The Sims Freeplay (Kindle Tablet Edition)
Mobile Application (Electronic Arts Inc.)
  • Play for FREE!
  • Design dream homes complete with swimming pools and multiple stories
  • Let your Sims get married, make babies, and then watch them grow into Toddlers, Preteens and Teenagers
  • Visit your real friends Sim Towns! Complete goals, form new relationships and compare your friends interior design skills against yours!
  • Care for pets, grow gardens, even bake a cake
  • Give your Sims careers and earn Simoleons to improve their situations
  • Complete goals for Lifestyle Points, then spend them on hip items
  • Live with your Sims in real-time

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