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CDs loaded with garden answers.

A pair of new compact discs can help you select plants, identify pests, discover remedies, and much more

Your summer garden might be winding down, but gardening questions go on year-round in the West: How can you stretch the flower show into fall? What plants have the flashiest autumn foliage? What can you do about powdery mildew on roses and zinnias?

Two new CD-ROMs from Sunset Publishing Corporation can help you answer those questions: the Western Garden (1995, $49.95), based on the best-selling Sunset Western Garden Book, and the Garden Problem Solver (1996, $39.95). These CDs are interactive storehouses of garden information, enhanced with video, audio, scalable color photos, and powerful built-in search features.


The Western Garden CD contains an encyclopedia of more than 6,000 plant species listed by common name and genus. If your computer has sound capability, you can hear the preferred pronunciation of each plant name: is it clematis or clematis? A click of the mouse tells all.

If you have only a general idea of what plant you want, use the Plant Selector to click on any category (trees, shrubs, vines, and so forth) and characteristics (bloom season, height, and color). Then enter your zip code and you'll get a customized list of plants that thrive in your climate zone (this CD uses Sunset's 24 Western climate zones).

As you identify plants you like, you can add them automatically to an electronic Garden Notebook to print out or review later.

Another useful feature is Quick Tips - videos that demonstrate various gardening techniques. Click on the daffodil video, for example, to see how a Sunset gardener plants daffodils in big containers, packing the bulbs in so tightly that they touch.


Owning the Garden Problem Solver is like having a Master Gardener on hand to answer questions. The CD offers advice on when to plant and how to maintain a healthy garden, and tells what to do when problems strike.

Advice on what to do in your garden and when to do it is listed in a Garden Calendar. Use the calendar to assign specified tasks to certain days, or to add notes tailored to your own gardening schedule. (This CD uses USDA climate zones.)

The Garden Problem Solver is loaded with color pictures that can be enlarged. You can use the photos to identify insect pests or to look at symptoms, like scab on apples, to discover the organism that causes them. Weeds are also covered in this section.

If you already know what the problem is, you can go straight to the solution. For example, if your roses have black spot, you can quickly find out that the recommended chemical control is the fungicide captan.

You can preview an abridged version of the Garden Problem Solver on the Internet by navigating to Time-Warner's Virtual Garden site at


Both of these CD-ROMs are sold in home and garden centers, at software stores, and through Sunset Publishing Corporation (call 800/829-0113). They come in versions for Windows-based and Macintosh computers.

If you use Windows 3.1 or Windows 95, you'll need at least a 486 processor at 25 MHz, 8 megabytes of RAM, an SVGA monitor (640 by 480, 256 colors), a Windows-compatible sound device, and a double-speed CD-ROM drive.

For Macintosh, use at least System 7.0.1, a 68030 processor at 25 MHz, 8 megabytes of RAM, a 256-color display, and a double-speed CD-ROM drive.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:McCausland, Jim
Date:Sep 1, 1996
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