Mohawk Hudson Bonsai Society

Dedicated to the art of bonsai

iPhone for Bonsai

With a quarter-million apps for iPhone, it occurred to me there might be some useful bonsai apps in there. A quick search revealed several dozen but many are for things like creating your own virtual pet bonsai, which I’m sure I could kill as efficiently as I do my real ones. There are a couple of picture and instructional iManuals that look interesting but I prefer looking at pictures that are big enough to see (hey, like in books!).

I’ve chosen two apps to review that have some functionality. Both have free ‘lite’ versions that are fully functional but limit the number of trees to just a few, fine for experimenting, so check them out if you have an iPhone or need an excuse to get one.

The first is called Bonsai Manager and it’s a pretty rudimentary tool for  cataloguing your collection. You can add a photo, species and common name, and even a given name for each tree like “Ralph.”

It’s a little buggy but is great for forcing you to learn scientific names for all your trees because it lists both names as you thumb through the list, and you can add new species to the database if yours isn’t already there.

The second app I looked at is a more serious tool. It’s called Bonsai Album and is the dream app of every OCD bonsai nut. An inventory tool similar to Bonsai Manager, it is far better written and much more comprehensive, allowing you to track the progress of your trees, keep individual progress logs for each tree, add multiple photos, check stats, backup your database, and even photograph and catalog your pot collection with pot type, size and maker. If you absolutely, positively need to know exactly when you last repotted that Grewia, the name of that insecticide that worked so well, or just show off your collection at the next cocktail party (assuming you don’t want to be invited back), this is the app for you.

I see an application for people with enormous collections, for commercial growers who want to close a quick sale on the run, and for people with absolutely, positively no life.

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2 Comments»

  Molly Beverage wrote @

Larry, thanks for this very funny and concise look at two iPhone bonsai apps. But it leaves me with the understanding that I can’t admit to having the second app without also admitting to being OCD and having no life outside of bonsai!

  Larry Mossey wrote @

And what’s wrong with that?


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