Babylonstoren is the green Mecca of the Cape Winelands, famous for its botanical beauty and farm-to-fork dining experiences. The property’s eight-acre fruit and vegetable garden is like something out of a fairy tale, where grapes hang from trellises and plump pumpkins and cabbages dance across the ground. And now, with the launch of the farm’s new gardening application, it’s possible to bring a little bit of Babylonstoren’s green expertise into your own life and home.
Perfect for both beginners and gardening professionals, the free community-based app assists users with all sorts of queries, offers access to an extensive database that helps budding horticulturists develop their plant knowledge, and puts newbies in touch with planting professionals who can give guidance and advice.
We chatted to Shani Krige, the Babylonstoren App Coordinator, to learn more about this exciting product.
What inspired you to develop such a helpful application?
Our eight-acre garden attracts a lot of visitors, and gardening lovers are always eager to talk about gardening – be it on our blog, while on a garden tour or on social media. Gardening know-how is usually something that is gained by experience, trial and error. We wanted a place to capture and organise the knowledge of the gardening community. At the same time, we get many questions from beginner gardeners, so we thought this would be a good place for more experienced gardeners to help newbies. Instead of our team answering everything, it’s all community-driven.
What are the key features of the app?
Interaction with the community through our post component is definitely one of the most exciting features. Here users can ask questions and share tips or general knowledge about a particular plant, pest or disease. Furthermore, users can tag plants from our plant database and can also tag other users in their posts. Our ever-growing plant database has information on nearly 1000 plants and is the ideal place to learn about South African flora. Users can become even more involved in the community by setting up their own profiles with a short biography and subsequently following other users through our discover functionality.
What was taken into consideration when designing this application?
The most important aspect for us was to get the community involved – encouraging them to help our team of gardeners advise other users. We also wanted it to appeal to newbies who would like to start gardening. So, it was important for us to make the app fun and easy. Simplicity was key. Plants and gardening are quite complex subjects, so to simplify this for mobile use was, and still is, a challenge.
Can you describe one of your favourite components of this application?
Posting questions and getting an array of answers from other gardeners. The visual experience while having an unlimited source of information is also fantastic! The app has this way of making users more observant of the whole plant kingdom and more eager to share newly discovered treasures with other like-minded green-fingered people.
What are some plants you recommend everyone has in their garden?
It changes day by day, and our list is endless! Follow our app to see what’s in!
For more information about the gardening app or to download it (via the Apple Store or Google Play), visit babylonstoren.com.