Now that winter is (mostly) over, the Puget Sound region is blooming with daffodils, azaleas and of course, tulips. With spring in the air and flowers all around, my thoughts naturally turned to gardening games. Lucky for gamers, garden-themed games come in all genres. Here are some of the top-rated ones as reviewed by you, our customers.
Gardenscapes 2 – Hidden Objects
No surprise, the popular Gardenscapes 2 tops the list. There are over 80 hidden object scenes to complete to help Austin (the butler from the original Gardenscapes) restore the family estate. While more of a landscaping game than a gardening game, players can none-the-less select from flowers, shrubs and decorative objects to make the grounds bloom again. Not being in possession of either an estate or a garden, I decided to ask my Mum, an avid gardener with 40+ years experience, what sorts of plants she would recommend to spruce up my imaginary estate.
Me: Mum, suppose I came into possession of an English Mansion. What sorts of shrubs would you recommend for my hedge maze?
Mum: The Yew is traditional for hedge mazes, but you will want to select something the works for your growing region. The key is to make sure you pick a shrub that will grow 4 – 5 feet in hight and 2 feet wide. Boxwoods would make a nice choice for a taller hedge, and they grow in well in most North American climate zones. If you would like to add some color to your maze, plant annuals along the borders.
Me: What about a water feature? I always wanted a fish pond.
Mum: If you are planning on keeping fish, you need to make sure you have one end that is deep, so the fish will have a place to hide. Raccoons and birds can get koi in the shallows, but won’t go into the deeper water. Include a variety of floating plants for the koi to hide under, like water poppies and lotuses. Submerged plants are equally important, as they help oxygenate the water and remove excess CO2.
Me: This seems like a lot more work than it does in the game.
Plant Tycoon – Adventure
Popular with amateur horticulturalists, Plant Tycoon is next on our list. This game mixes virtual gardening with real time simulation. As in actual gardening, the plants require a careful mix of hydration and nutrients to reach maturity. Players cross-breed plants to develop new varieties in a quest to discover magical plants and sell their creations to fund their research. What gamers like about Plant Tycoon: The variety (you start with a few seeds and through cross pollination can get to over 500 different plants), the relaxing nature of the game and the true-to-life gardening aspects. Reviewers called it “Relaxing and challenging,” “Addictive” and “Endlessly Enjoyable.”
Garden Defense – Time Management
As any gardener will tell you, you can’t have roses without thorns, and you can’t have vegetables without insects. Number three on our list, Garden Defense explores the bug-eat-plant world of slimy slugs and ferocious fruit flies. Battle wave after wave of aggressive ants using lawn ornaments, goofy gadgets and bug fighting plants. Not being a bug expert myself, I decided to ask my Mum how she preserved her garden from pesky critters.
Me: What plants do you use in your garden to cut down on the pests?
Mum: I choose host plants for beneficial insects like ladybugs. One easy-to-maintain host plant is yarrow. You need to be careful what type of yarrow you use, however. Common Yarrow can be very invasive and spread to any open space as well as your lawn. Herbs like dill and coriander attract beneficial bugs as well and are a great addition to any vegetable garden.
Me: Sounds great, but what about slugs? The last thing I want to step on is a slimy gastropod.
Mum: To keep out slugs, surround your plants with broken egg shells or seashells, especially if you have petunias or other plants they like to snack on. Keeping the garden cleaned up is important as well. Leaving branches on the ground gives the pests a habitat. Make sure you clean up the debris in the fall rather than letting it rot over the winter. You also need to distinguish between bugs and thugs. Less than 1% of all insect species are serious pests that effect crops. Ants are actually pest police. They prey on the eggs and larva of other bugs and aid in the aeration of soil, bring nutrients closer to the surface.
Geisha – The Secret Garden – Match 3
Also making our list is a unique puzzle game that combines Mahjong, Match 3 and Time Management elements. Match traditional mahjong tiles to earn plants and decorations for your Zen garden. Choose from timed or untimed modes and complete goals to move forward in the game. What gamers like about Geisha – The Secret Garden: The different take on both mahjong & match 3 (you can only match in a limited number of directions), the ability to design your own garden and create objects. Reviewers called it “Addictive and very cute,” “Fantastic” and say “I keep coming back to this game time and time again.”
Plants vs. Zombies – Arcade Action
Of course, no list of gardening games could be complete without the perennial favorite garden warfare game. This game has a great mix of mini games, incredible graphics and level after level of zombie fighting cuteness. And with multiple games with infinite modes, this game tops the list for re-playability. While I prefer my zombies to be more home and garden rather than World War Z, I decided to ask my Mum what to do in case of a zombie apocalypse.
Me: Let’s say you were getting ready to fight of a zombie horde with only plants as weapons.
Mum: What are zombies?
Me: You know, the walking undead.
Mum: Oh, hmm. I would use something thorny. And something tough and thick, so they couldn’t get through, like blackberries. And maybe some of ornamental grasses with the sharp edges. Pampas grass, for example, will grow 8 to 12 feet tall. I think a zombie would have a hard time getting through that.
So there you have it. Top-rated garden games from our players, and gardening advice from my Mum. Happy spring planting. Did we miss one of your favorite garden games?