Bloom Clock/Outreach/Arboreta and Public Gardens

Dear Horticulturists,

I'm dropping you this note to inform you of the Bloom Clock on Wikiversity, because we are anxious to get contributions and data from public institutions with extensive plant collections. Like any bloom clock, the Wikiversity project collects data for where and when a particular plant is blooming, but unlike most clocks this one is designed with a global scope, collecting and organizing data from regions all over the world.

There are four main objectives for how the clock will eventually be used:

  1. To create fully illiustrated dichotomous keys for each region for which we have data, thus serving as an online field guide for people who are new to plants and plant experts alike.
  2. To match regional data to a global "bloom time scale", in the hopes of creating a zone system similar to the USDA's Hardiness Zones, the AHS Heat Zones, etc. This would be helpful for designers, and perhaps create shortcuts for ways of discussing newly introduced plants.
  3. To create regional lists of plants for gardeners and designers, allowing searches by color and other attributes, as well as native or non-invasive plants, nectar source plants, etc.
  4. To establish phenological indicators for plant pests, plant diseases, and other cyclical phenomena that affect agriculture and horticulture. These lists will be created by matching data with other clocks hosted by Wikiversity.

How you can helpEdit

Contributing to the bloom clock is quite simple, since all that is required is adding a signature and in some cases a small-keystroke template to the logs and profiles used on the clock. Every contribution enriches the data set for the region you are logging from, and helps to refine the global keys, garden lists, and phenological associations. Basic contributing skills can be aquired with just a few minutes of reading and/or discussion with a experienced mentor.

Aside from logging, digital photographs are also greatly appreciated, and we have virtually unlimited space for uploads of any size. Images of plants from all seasons and of all characteristics can be incorporated either into the Bloom Clock itself or into related resources on Wikipedia or Wikibooks.

Both data and images are sought for all flowering plants and conifers, including weeds, wildflowers, and garden plants. Logs and images of individual varieties and cultivars are also needed.

How the Bloom Clock can help your missionEdit

Wikiversity is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, which is the umbrella organization responsible for Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wiktionary, etc. Part of the Wikiversity mission is to conduct certain types of research, and the Bloom Clock was the first such research project to be established in 2006. As part of the Wikimedia Foundation, we have enormous resources in terms of technical support, volunteer contributors, and of course a stable server with ample disk space and a user interface that will be familiar to anyone who has ever used Wikipedia.

By contributing data to the Bloom Clock, public gardens and arboreta can serve their communities through the creation of the keys and lists that community members can use to learn about the plants they see in flower at any given time of year. Accredited public gardens may also use categories and keys specific to the plants blooming there, thus creating an "online guidebook", or using the freely licensed data and descriptions to create printed versions for use by visitors.