Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Calling all Gardeners - A Giveaway!

Plant Swatch is a portable folding plant booklet that’s slim enough to fit in a pocket, purse or glove box to have at your fingertips in a moment’s notice.
It was developed by Phillip Fourie, an artist and amateur gardener from South Africa who moved to Britain and then Canada.  Coming from a tropical region full of colour and with a mother who was a florist that could work magic with vivid hues, he was pleasantly amazed at the shades of green to be found in Canada.  His only disappointment, which is common to many new people in this country, is the broken pattern of colour during winter when it is hard to distinguish shades here.
To help with his winter blues, he would visit the Royal Botanical Gardens where he could enjoy the display of soothing tropical plants that were familiar and reminders of a boyhood place far away.
The average nursery carries 5,000 plants or so which is overwhelming to most gardeners looking to make purchases.  Fourie found books and magazines helpful but what he really wanted was a guide to take with him that would show the hardiness zone and possibilities to feed his craving for colour.
As an artist he had colour swatches just like the ones you’d find at the paint store and so he built on this idea to develop the Plant Swatch.  Academic sources said this project wouldn’t work but with persistence he found an ally and co-author in Steve Loewen who with a B.Sc. Agr. Degree has worked as a plant breeder for Stokes Seeds and is a researcher and teacher at the University of Guelph.
Gardeners, new or experienced generally like to choose their plants initially by colour which is what makes the Plant Swatch so unique.  The pages fan out to view the shades of each colour for a selection and the information for hardiness zone, height and width plus growing requirements are listed for each variety.
There are 231 tried and true illustrated perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees included that very reputable sources took part in choosing.  Some plants were chosen because they were award winning and others as suggestions from specific plant societies.
The USDA zones were used which lists minimum and maximum temperatures that most Canadian nurseries use anyway for their hardiness perimeters.
 Plant Swatch covers 80-90% of approved plant lists for several colleges which are looking at possibly adopting it as a type of text book for first year horticultural students.
Plant Swatch makes an ideal fun gift, especially for new gardeners but I know seasoned ones who always like a new gadget like this to help them choose plants.
Visit Plant Swatch for more information and to order.
What do you think?  Would you like a Plant Swatch for yourself or to gift to a brand new gardener?
Mr. Fourie has graciously donated 5 Plant Swatches to be given away on my blog.  You don't have to be a follower but you do have to leave a comment and at the end say please enter me - 3 magic words to have your name thrown in the pot.  The lucky winners will be drawn on March 21.
Sorry, the giveaway is only for Canadian and US residents.
I've had a Plant Swatch for a few years and love it; good luck in winning one!


  1. Exciting reading you are bidding on! What I can tell you about is a good book about colors. Malcolm Hillier Colour Garden. Excellent color photos, and he makes it transparent with color theory. He explains in a straightforward way of contrasting colors, how light affects the color scale the different seasons. I wish you a wonderful day! Zinnia

  2. Oh I would so love one of these!! (and I am a follower!)

    Thank you for the chance to win.


  3. Please enter me.

    This looks like a wonderful book for any gardener ... new or experienced.

  4. Hi Judith!
    Well you really have me motivated now. I was just thinking about a trip to my near by garden nursery this morning. When I moved to my new house I left some of my favorite plants and shrubs behind. I need to plan a new flowerbed.
    Please enter me. I would love to win.

  5. Hello Judith! This is a fantastic product! LOVE it! Definitely - Please enter me!

    Hope you have a great day,

  6. What a nice reference for the garden. Please enter me and thank you for the opportunity to win.

    I can't wait to get in the garden and get started this Spring!

    Happy Gardening to all.

  7. Judith, this is an awesome 'tool' and give away! I've never heard of it and would love a chance to win one. Please enter me! Thanks. Pamela

  8. Good Morning, Judith

    This must have been a huge project, their creation of the deck. Your giveaway is a perfect one for the spring season.

    Please enter me.


  9. Hi Judith,

    I have never heard of this but it sounds just the ticket for gardeners.

    Please enter me. Such a lovely giveaway.

    Have a great day,

  10. What a great idea. I've never heard of this.
    please enter me

  11. Hi Judith,
    What a great give-away! I'd love to have one of these!
    Please enter me.

  12. What an ideal tool. As we are fencing our back yard this year, so that I can have flowers and such that the deer won't be able to snack on, this would really come in handy. I want to replace a lot of the older flowers and move things around to use more color.

    Needless to say, I'd love to be considered for the drawing. If I don't win, perhaps you can let me know where to purchase one?

    It is looking like spring around here already, so I'm itching to get in the yard! Bet you are, too!


  13. Count me in! What a handy tool this would make for me! I'm grateful for the opportunity! xoxo, tracie

  14. I love this idea!
    I will go check it out now. My daughter would like this, too, I know.
    please enter me!

  15. Please enter me! As soon as I saw the notice in your column, I knew this would make an ideal gift for my wife. Her birthday is coming up next month, just in time for the gardening season!

  16. What a neat item! Please enter me. Thanks!

  17. Love your blog! What a fabulous idea for gardens. Plese enter me. Blessings, Linda

  18. This looks fantastic, Judith! Thank you for the chance and yes, please enter me. :) – g

  19. definitely would NOT want to miss out on this!
    just beginning with the gardening flower beds and know this would be a wonderful help ~ TY! for the offer and the generosity..

    YES! please enter me -

  20. Hi Judith! So lovely a spring day and flowers in the garden are on our minds here in South Jersey as well! Inspired by such superb gardeners like you and so many other wonderful bloggers, this year I am brave enough to actually try to plan our garden - rather than throw seed out and see what happens. Not that I won't do that - but with a bit more purpose to it. I'd love one of these flower swatches - so helpful to a novice like me! PLEASE ENTER ME!

    Kathryn Ross

  21. This is really a neat tool Judith.

    Don't enter me because I have no garden right now and I'm sure someone else could use this more.

    I was just intriqued to read about it.

    I will try to run one down in the future when I am able to have a garden again!


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