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Plant Toolbox Continues to Grow With Help From Master Gardener Volunteers

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Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox logoThe Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox is a one-stop shop for plant information that contains more than 4,600 plant profiles, each featuring cultural requirements, suggested landscape uses, IPM information, images from multiple seasons, and QR codes that can be added to signs, labels, and educational materials. You may search for plants by their common or scientific name, or use the Find a Plant feature to select the perfect plants for your landscape conditions and needs. In addition, there are over 100 garden galleries showcasing mature plant combinations and inspiring hardscapes.

Thanks to the efforts of Master Gardener℠ volunteers, the Plant Toolbox continues to grow. Volunteers contributed over 4,000 service hours in 2021 and 2022 to enhance and maintain the site, working on tasks that included gathering images, writing descriptions, researching and entering data, and proofreading entries.

Screenshot of purple coneflower profile from the Plant Toolbox

Purple coneflower profile from the Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox.

When asked what he enjoyed most about working on the Plant Toolbox, Master Gardener volunteer Gene Cronin shared, “Prior to the toolbox, most of the plants I learned about were the ones that went in my own backyard. Doing the research for plant entries opened up a whole world of plants I was unfamiliar with and helped me to appreciate how diverse that world is.”

Master Gardener volunteers in Brunswick County are taking full advantage of the QR codes found in each Plant Toolbox plant profile by adding them to plant labels in their demonstration garden, located at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center. Master Gardener volunteers who participated in the 2022 training class cataloged over 660 plants found in the garden and added QR codes to each plant’s label as part of their internship project.

Label for Gold Dust Aucuba that includes a QR code.

Plant labels in the Brunswick County Botanical Garden now include QR codes for the Plant Toolbox. Image by Krys Ochota, NC State Extension.

Scanning the QR code with a cell phone conveniently leads each visitor to full and accurate information found in the Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. According to EMG program coordinator, Krys Ochota, “Adding QR codes to all of the plant labels makes the demonstration garden truly useful to Brunswick County community members, and newcomers in particular.”

Explore the Plant Toolbox to find great plants for your yard!

Infographic of statistics from

The Extension Master Gardener program is a statewide network of volunteers and Extension educators working in N.C. Cooperative Extension county centers and on NC State campus. Through education and outreach, we connect people with the benefits of gardening and empower North Carolinians to cultivate healthy plants, landscapes, ecosystems, and communities. 

Explore stories from our 2022 Annual Report, which celebrates our work to help North Carolinians learn and grow.

Join, support, or connect with Extension Master Gardener volunteers in your community.