Better Homes and Gardens: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plans/
The Scoop: the only catch is that you have to register, which is free, but once you do, so are all of the downloadable garden plans! It also has container garden plans as well as a very helpful tool where you can create a mock-up, directly on the site, of the garden that you envision. Register first, though, because you cannot proceed on the site without it. (It also has content on house and home). If nothing else, it will give you ideas of which plants “go together.”
HELPFUL TOOLS: SPECIFIC
Toxic Plant List: UPDATED on 9/2/2013 – new web address
The Scoop: this very helpful site provides good information on poisonous or toxic plants. Some of the toxicity can be mild, all the way to severe.
The Scoop: Quite a lot of information on weed identification.
Help Me Find: http://www.helpmefind.com/rose/index.php?tab=5
The Scoop: this helpful site provides good information on rose care, digital images of roses, a search engine for you to look up information about a particular rose, and other great stuff on roses. I refer to this site often.
US Department of Agriculture Plants Database: http://plants.usda.gov/java/
The Scoop: I love to read through vast databases for information about plants, and this website provides just that! Check it out for detailed information about plants, using common and scientific names.
Succulents: Problem Prevention and Treatment
The Scoop: This is a helpful page, within a really nice website on succulent plants. The page referenced above describes many problems encountered with succulent plants and strategies for preventing and treating common problems.
Fruit Tree Diseases: http://www.wvu.edu/~exten/infores/pubs/pest/pcerti17.pdf
The Scoop: Information on diseases of various fruit trees can be found on this helpful website, including information on disease control/treatment.
All About Birds, from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=1189
The Scoop: this site provides outstanding, detailed information about birds, including identifying marks, habitat, and also very useful photos and videos of birds.
On-Line Center: http://www.martindalecenter.com/Calculators.html
The Scoop: this site provides several types of calculators – very useful for garden design.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map: http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/ushzmap.html
The Scoop: this is invaluable information and will determine whether plants will be available or shippable to your area. Find your zone and your wish list of plants for your garden can be more focused.
National Gardening Association: http://www.garden.org/home
The Scoop: This is a good website with useful gardening articles and reference tools, as well as links to regional gardening information.
HELPFUL TOOLS: GENERAL
Contractors and Licensing Information:
The Scoop: this is incomplete; it will be updated as new information becomes available. The states that do not have an obvious searchable database with licensing information (to me) are designated with the default Better Business Bureau (http://www.welcome.bbb.org) website. It’s better to check out a contractor’s licensing information in addition to their BBB information.