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Will the Monrovia Database for 2011 be available for 2010 users?


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Now that sounds pretty useful. I use the Gertens Catalog quite a bit, so I've been thinking about importing that. I have the Microsoft Excel file of it (2010) with pricing, sizes, etc. I planned on getting that all sorted out this winter.

I've been reading about how some of the users set up their plant databases, and I was imagining I'd do it a bit differently. While this sounds like a lot of extra work, I'd include the various sizes and forms of several of the plants, along with the pricing for each. For example, I often use Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry in my landscapes. It's commonly available in a range of sizes from 10 gallon potted to 8' height balled and burlapped (and rarely, spade-dug larger sizes, but I probably wouldn't need that in the database). Also, in many of those sizes, it's also available in both single stem and multi-stem form. In our region, there are only a handful of trees with that many options. But many of the rest would still be available in a decent range of sizes.

Since I haven't done much with the planting design features yet, I'm not sure how this will work, but I'd like to have one plant symbol (although both 2d and 3d so I guess that'd be 2 symbols) associated with each plant. I generally indicate a multi-stem tree with multiple dots. I imagine it would be possible to create 2 versions of the symbol for Serviceberry with the only difference being single or multi-stemmed form. I keep the size the symbol for each plant the same. That should represent something between 2/3 and full mature canopy/outline. So the symbol for each plant would always be the same graphic no matter which size it's available in.

If I were more comfortable working with all this, I'd like to copy the entire database to a backup file somewhere, then delete most of the plants in the working file for zone 6 and warmer so I'm not always sorting through and managing those extra plants. I'd then be able to start adding in the data from Gertens, or some of the other nurseries I use. I realize I can create a "favorites" list from the main database, but I'd rather start with a main database of only plants from this region, then have a sub-set of those as my favorites.

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Thanks for that, and I think that's the way everyone seems to do it, so there must be a good reason. I don't plan on doing anything radical (like deleting the main plant database) until I have some experience of this feature. I'm just trying to think of good workflow practices to set up as I'm switching from all hand drafting (my current situation) to mostly Vectorworks Landmark.

Right now, I have to print out the drawing, to all take-offs by hand (including calculating areas of hardscape, planting beds, lawn, etc.), count all the plants, etc. At that point, I do have a spreadsheet I've created (much of which is a mash-up with things like the Gertens price sheet) so it's not too bad to transpose the material take-offs to a finished proposal.

I figured that with all the energy Vectorworks is putting into streamlining this (the landscape area tool, for instance would be an EXCELLENT thing to have set up for initial budget work with clients), plus the improvements to the hardscape tool set (which are going to make costing more accurate), it seems like having all the plant options I have at my disposal (all the local sources, and the prices) that would just be one less step. You're suggesting placing a certain plant (and its symbol, I'm guessing) then changing the plants size in the attributes dialogue.

It seems like there are at least three problems I can see with that. For one thing, you're not just changing the pot size, you now have to look up the price to have that reflect accurately in the costing (if you're trying to take advantage of that feature), and reasons two/three combined; I often create group plantings of trees (an aspen glade, for instance) which include multiple sizes and forms of a single species. This is a good technique for starting with a planting that may look more natural. Compare a planting featuring 40 River Birch, all 10' B&B multi-trunk with that same area using 60 River Birch, ranging in size from 7 gal. "whip" to 14' B&B multi-trunk and everything in between. On a larger planting, that's at least 4 or 5 different sizes/forms to pull off a more natural look. So not only is that a lot of extra work in the attributes dialogue to make all those adjustments, but wouldn't changing the plant size for one plant also change the size for every instance of that plant on the drawing?

Having the ability to use various sizes and forms of a plant, plus the various costs associated with them, is one of the main reasons I thought going digital would be an advantage, so I'm surprised that no one seems to think setting up the database to streamline that ability is a good idea. But I'll find out this winter when I actually try setting up the database.

Early in my career, I worked as a word processor and data entry clerk to help survive the winters around here. So adding plant info to the database is the least of my worries. If there are no real limitations to having the multiple sizes included, I'll spend 2 or 3 days in January to get it done if that'll speed things up next summer.

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