So heres a new thing. FindtheData.com is a new site dedicated to gathering data in such a way that allows side-by-side comparisons to be made. And theres a lot of plant stuff here. Lets have a look, shall we?
The Plants Database pulls data from USDA sources, but puts it in a format that makes it easier to search by particular characteristics or do side-by-side comparisons of plants. Searching for plants by various qualities yields some weird resultsa search for fall-blooming annuals turned up only one plant, and its a plant that sounds like it comes right out of a Monty Python movieSmallfoot Beggarticks.
Okay, moving on! You can also pull all kinds of data about botanical gardensI did a search for botanical gardens that do ethnobotanical research and operate a tram, and got a list of four institutions (Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Hawaii, in case youre wondering.)
Theres also a list of farmers markets. I made a map of all the farmers markets within 20 miles of Iowa City:
You can also compare wine grapes or green restaurants.
I am perhaps most interested in the booze ratings, which pull scores and awards from several sources to give compiled data that can be put into side-by-side comparisons. For instance, heres gin:
OK, enough about gin. What about the plants? Given the fact that this site is really only pulling data thats already been compiled and putting it in a more user-friendly formwhat would be most useful to you, plant-wise?
I know what Id like to see: Seed and plant catalogs! Give me one place where I can search seed and plant listings, compare, and then order.
The data is not always perfect and up-to-date, by the way. I did a search for bookstores in Eureka, CA, and the bookstore I own wasnt on the listand weve owned it for almost five years, and we belong to bookstore organizations and are listed in the Yellow Pages. Oh well.