Ideas for Using QR Codes for Demonstration Gardens and Plant Sales

sample QR code
sample QR code

Some EMG groups are considering putting plant information into the hands of smartphone users with QR codes.

Using QR Codes in Annual Plant Sales and Demo Gardens

There has been an on-going discussion in the gardening and extension blogosphere about QR Codes this past year, first here (about the possibilities), then at the Garden Professors blog (will people use them?), than at the Franklin County MG blog (how they are trying them), and now here again (with resources to learn more about them)!

From all these discussions we were made aware of two presentations about using QR Codes for extending gardening and plant information that we couldn’t keep to ourselves!

Using QR Codes in the Garden

Mary VanDyke and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia have generously shared their “QR Codes in the Garden” presentation and additional notes with you. (Note: you can share this presentation in non-commercial settings as long as your credit Mary VanDyke and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia, and present the slide link)

Covered in this presentation, is how to use QR Codes for plant sales and demonstration gardens. I specifically found the practical illustrations on which scanner apps to use,  how to generate a QR Code (services, sizes, colors), what kinds of materials to consider printing,  tips for making mobile information on the cheap, and then even more ideas for using them in the demonstration garden.

Using QR Codes to Market Your Demo Landscape

Emily Eubanks, UF/IFAS, Communications Coordinator has another presentation titled:  Qr Codes in Demo Landscapes.  Emily covers how to use QR codes in the demo garden, who might use them, and a covers a case study of Straughn Center Demo gardens.

Emily provides a number of ideas for how to use (slides 26, 27), and just as pertinent is a slide 28 listing their limitations — because we do need to consider if   people will use them, or how we might help people know how to use them!

(Note: you can share this presentation for educational purposes by providing credit to Emily Eubanks, University of Florida, and sharing the link to the slide set).

Is it more worthwhile to scan or not to scan?

As I mentioned last year year, I think there is potential for connecting some consumers with great plant information and customer service with the scan of a QR scan app, but as discussed in this Garden Professors blog post, the jury is still out there to see if consumers will:
b) download a scan app
c) go to the effort to grab their smartphone when they see a QR code
d) use the scan app to scan the QR code
e) re-access the information when they need it later.
For some QR code EMG experimenters like Franklin County MG’s, Ray Eckart, they are thinking bigger than just connecting people to ‘normal’ plant tag info (sun, water, price) via QR Codes. They are thinking about connecting people to Extension bulletins and much richer sets of plant information (some of which Mary and Emily covered in their slide presentations).
 So, I guess this is where the experiment and fun begins….

What do you think?

  • Have you tried using a QR Code app to use them at a garden center, botanical garden? If so, did you find it a useful experience? If not, what would make it better?
  • Do you think your clientele would use them?  Would they need assistance in understanding how to scan them?
  • How or where might you direct people to contact you with questions after a plant sale purchase or visit to a demo garden?
  • What other ideas might you have for using them in plant sales or demonstration garden?

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