As many of you may know the seed we planted in January 2014 has emerged into a seedling with the nurturing help of many. It has been a month now since Bill and I took the first step to formalize an idea that we had conceptualized for some time: the name will be Plants Map.

With the some help, a new kind of database was being built as a tool to organize our plants and share them virtually with others. Then the timing to proceed with our hobby project came the same week as Startup Weekend Fredericksburg. Why not pitch Plants Map and see if this was something? The pitch idea gained traction and the Plants Map team went on to win Startup Weekend Fredericksburg.

We were off and running and a startup idea was launched!

Since that time we have continued to evolve Plants Map and make progress creating a new social website community for everyone that enjoys collecting and growing plants or just visiting gardens, arboretums and parks.

As gardeners ourselves, we knew there were a lot of folks like use: passionate about plants, trees, and gardens. We knew we were not the only ones that obsessed about our collections and keeping lists of plants acquired and still longing to have as well as lists of beautiful gardens to visit and those we had already discovered. We have much to be thankful for! The show of support, interest and enthusiasm for our idea is accelerating!

To begin with, we would like to thank all of those that have participated in our Plants Map Survey. We will use the information you have shared to help us grow a better site. The survey response has been tremendous.

We also want to thank those that signed up for our new Journal and were willing to sign up as ‘ground breakers’ and become our first users of the site. We value your feedback and participation. Our social media followers have been fantastic! We have received so much enthusiasm, engagement and interest in Plants Map.

Today we have 263 Twitter Followers134 Likes on Facebook13 Followers on Pinterest.  Special #Thanks to our new friends at#gardenchat. I’d like to call out a few people who really helped get things off the ground for us. Janet Woody and Jonah Holland at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden both ROCK! Thanks for the help with information about plant tags and labels and for your social media assist during Startup Weekend! If you haven’t seen the LGBG Facebook page or their awesome Pinterest page check them out.  And they Tweet too: twitter.com/lewisginter.

Jane Milliman, Publisher of Upstate Gardeners’ Journal and Ear To The Ground PRO blog and newsletter. @janemilliman is ‘the mayor’ of all things gardening in Upstate NY! Thank you for the social media help, newsletter plug and survey support!

Much appreciation goes to Christine Froehlich at the Rochester Civic Garden Center for the plug in their newsletter and on their Facebook page. When I lived in Rochester (NY) RCGC was the place to learn all things botanical and also a great place to be a member and volunteer.

Guy Mussey, the awesome Stafford County Extension agent that started the arboretum collection at Cossey Botanical Park. Thanks for the plant list the day before Startup Weekend which we used to kick off our site and demonstrate what Plants Map can do for public gardens.

We’d also like to thank all of the amazing supporters of Startup Weekend, Cossey Botanical Park and Plants Map who sponsored (crowdfunding!) tags to Cossey Botanical Park, Fredericksburg (VA) during and after the competition!

I would also like to thank the many Master Gardener and Cooperative Extension friends from Alabama, Virginia and New York that helped spread the word, take our survey and follow us.  Can’t wait to  see you start adding plants to your garden on Plants Map! (I’ll favorite your plants as 5 green thumbs!)

I can’t forget my Fairport Garden Club friends and many others that have participated one way or another.

Thank you to Spotsylvania Economic Development for meeting with me and introducing us to IT consultant Carl Dodson atthinkNTS.com. I’m still thinking of how to tag a tree that was shot in half over 150 years ago!!

We’ve have also had various groups embrace our idea for their plant society or organization. We are launching group pages this weekend! Our first one is the American Bonsai Society.

As such, we would like to thank and also mention The Neighborhood Tree Program in Falls Church, Virginia as well as The American Bonsai Society for their participation with our startup and for the crazy number of survey responses from their members!

Special thanks to Dr. Eric Wiseman at Virginia Tech for adding the Utility Tree Arboretum and the Virginia Big Tree Program as organizations.

A huge shout-out and Thank You to Christina Goodwin and the organizers of Startup Weekend Fredericksburg and their parent organization FredXChange and sponsor Germanna Community College. If you want to be a founder, you have to hook up with them and attend their many great networking opportunities and educational events. The always encouraging John Sechrest, deserves a Thank You for spreading the Lean Startup methodolgy and facilitating ours and many other Startup Weekend events. And for the lead about a friend that has a laser! We love to twitter dance with John! And we couldn’t have started, much less won Startup Weekend without our team members: Bryan Wengren, Alexandra Spalding, Mitchel Edwards, Clint Hill, David Miller.

Another big thank you to Crown Trophy Fredericksburg who helped us out with the donated prototype tags for the weekend.  And Phil at CSL Media (@fredprint), you made a cool 3D printed 1st place trophy and you printed the most awesome business cards ever!! Remember that seed paper idea? We’re gonna hit you up!

And finally, thanks to 99Designs and Szarka Zsofia for developing our awesome Plants Map logo and business card design. We hope you will continue to help Plants Map grow from a seedling into what one day will be a might tree!

We have a lot more seeds planted and we can’t wait to share with you as those take life as well. And please come visit my growing profile on Plants Map!

Thanks, Tracy Blevins