In this age of computers and high-tech gadgetry, a vast array of information on most subjects is just a mouse click away.
Admittedly, I am one of the millions of surfers who cruise the Information Superhighway from time to time. But when it comes to gardening, there are a few sites I use regularly for accurate, reliable information.
Here is my list of favorite Web sites and sources of information that you may wish to try.
The first, and my personal favorite, is for the Kansas State University Horticulture Information Center, www.oznet.ksu.edu/dp_hfrr/extensn/horticul.htm.
Here you will find almost all of the horticulture information that K-State has to offer. Included are most of the horticulture bulletins, and links to the entomology and plant pathology sheets as well. Better yet, K-State offers a weekly online newsletter, chock full of timely gardening tips.
Likewise, there is a searchable database of common plant problems. With more than 150 topics, chances are if your plant has it, so does this Web site.
My next favorite site is Horticulture in Virtual Perspective found at http://webgarden.osu.edu/ . It can be easily found by clicking on the "Links to Useful Horticultural Sites" button of the K-State Web site.
Webgarden is a general horticulture reference site that contains a searchable database of more than 20,000 Extension publications. Also included are a virtual arboretum and various other areas of interest to those fascinated with horticulture.
Created and maintained by Ohio State University, I have yet to come up empty when searching this site for information.
Another site, also accessible through the K-State Web page, is PLANTanswers. Found at http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/web.html., this is a useful site that contains a searchable database of commonly asked plant questions.
Created and maintained by Texas A&M; University, it includes wonderful information about wildflowers, with links to wildflower seed suppliers.
Last, but not least, is a site best used when you know a particular university published the information you are searching for. Titled State Partners of the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, it is a directory of all the land-grant universities Web sites.
It can be accessed at www.reeusda.gov/1700/statepartners/usa.htm.
The key to being a successful magician is knowing as much about magic as possible. The key to being a successful gardener is knowing as much about plants as possible. Although I feel like a magician revealing my secrets, these Web sites are no illusion and are available for all to use.
So, as you prepare for another gardening season, bookmark these Web pages and use them to help answer your gardening questions this year.
Bruce Chladny is horticulture agent at K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County. For more gardening information, call the Master Gardener Hotline, 843-7058, between 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday or Friday.