National Trust Gardens

National Trust Gardens

National Trust Gardens

An educational, informative and fun app for gardeners

The National Trust and gardens go together like jelly and ice cream, and the century-old institution is revered for its knowledge, presentation and understanding. This app brings that experience to the iPhone in a pleasingly traditional manner, but then you are hit with an ultra-modern surprise.

The presentation suits the institution perfectly, and the app is incredibly easy to navigate, containing just the right balance between imagery and information. You only need to swipe on occasion to get to what you need and much care has been taken to ensure that it is consistent all of the way through. All of the major gardens are covered and you can view them in a variety of ways; either via a map detailing the ones nearest to you, in list-form or via other indicators based on the plants you want to see and what is in season.

Topping it all off will be the interactive guides, which take the iPhone-enhanced visitor experience to a whole new level. The number of guides available at this stage is low owing to the infancy of the system, but more are expected over time and this will greatly increase the value and usefulness of the app. They include the impressive ability to scan QR codes that are located around the gardens, and beautifully presented maps that will highlight areas of interest close by. It really is one of the best implementations of augmented reality we have seen to date, and the marriage of the modern and traditional has been perfected in this instance.

For a free app, it contains a lot of detail, and for those who want to improve their own gardens there are many tips and visual help screens that will offer guidance on what to plant when and how to plant it. The fact that the real gardens offer a glimpse of how your plot of earth could look helps even more and really does blend the pixel and plant perfectly. Many National Trust visitors may not have the opportunity to try this app, but for those who do they will get to experience a piece of technology that is very clever and original, and works exactly as you would want it to.

Rated 5 out of 5

A beautifully presented and interactive horticultural guide.