A recent spring trip to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas provided me with a great photo opportunity to share one of the best possible uses for using QR codes (in my humble opinion, anyway) – learning more about a garden’s plant collection.
What are QR Codes?
Why should gardeners or Master Gardeners care about a 2d barcode? QR Codes, short for quick response code, provide another option for people to get more information about plants, gardens, or really anything (I’m just talking about its use in the garden because this is the Extension Master Gardener blog). All you have to do is scan a simple QR Code (a 2d barcode graphic) with a QR Reader app on your smart phone. These QR codes are easy to generate and print. I generated the QR code to the left through a service called bit.ly by using these instructions.
For the end user, they are a quick way to connect to a website because all you have to do is scan the QR code with your smartphone scan/reader app. (Note: I have used the app, ‘Scan’ for my iPhone. My colleague uses ‘QRDroid’ for her Android smart phone app. Both have worked well for us – but neither of us endorse either of these over other apps).
QR Code Uses in the Garden
Can you imagine the uses? You can print QR codes on brochures, signs (think, plant sale), postcards, t-shirts or anywhere you’d like people to link to more information about your plants or program.
I took a sequence of photos (below) of how my colleague and I scanned a QR code from a sign at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Naturalistic Homeowner Inspiration Garden collection. What is really great about using QR codes in public gardens is that you can immediately download and bookmark the plant collection list, or other pertinent information. Thus, if I’m at the garden center sometime in the future, all I have to do is pull up my bookmarks and access the plant list.
Don’t see the slideshow above? See: QR Codes in the Garden Slideshow on Flickr
Examples of Gardens/Arboreta Using QR Codes
Below is a small list of some arboreta, gardens, or conservatories I have discovered (by searching Google) are using QR codes to provide additional information about plants or the grounds. I would imagine by next year, QR codes will be present in quite a few more places or publications. (Do you know of more garden places using QR codes? If so, let us know in the comments section)
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (used on signage and plant sales)
- Longwood Gardens
- Phipps Conservancy
- The North Carolina Arboretum
- Arnold Arboretum
If you think this might be interesting technology to use to communicate plant information or display information about your Master Gardener projects or programs, see How to Use QR Codes for more details on how to produce and use QR codes.
eXtension Consumer Horticulture Content Coordinator