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Garden with Insight Kurtz-Fernhout Software
Developers of custom software and educational simulations.
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Garden with Insight v1.0 Help: About the project

The Garden with Insight project had its origin in June 1990, when one of us, Paul Fernhout, had an idea that a computer simulation might help people understand how to garden in a more sustainable way in their own backyards. He started to work on the project part-time, and continued it on and off, while doing computer consulting and going to graduate school in Ecology. Then he met the other one of us, Cynthia Kurtz, and we got married. Cynthia, being also interested in gardening and ecology, started working on the project a year later. Together we have put in over six person-years of work on the project.

The formal goals of the project are: to help people garden more effectively and with greater enjoyment by gaining a greater insight into what is going on in their garden by using an open-ended simulation, and: to help people learn to garden with less environmental impact by helping them explore the long-term implications of their gardening decisions.

Garden with Insight has been developed on both the Macintosh and Windows platforms, though the program ended up in Windows only for this version. The project has included work in several development environments, including Smalltalk, Symantec C++, Borland C++, MetroWorks C++, Visual Basic, and finally Borland Delphi, in which the program is written now. (Paul wrote some translation programs to convert portions of source code from one language to another.) The name of the program went from "The Garden Game" to "Garden Simulator" to what it is now.

We have worked as a team on most design phases of the project. Paul has done most of the low-level coding, the general architecture, the undo/redo system, the file system, the graphical display, and the 3D turtle engine. Cynthia has done most of the translation of the EPIC model, the flowering/fruiting submodel, the plant drawing algorithm, the various window designs, and the artwork, music, and documentation.

Many people have helped us through the years; many people have discussed the project with us; many friends and members of our families have encouraged us and given us advice. All of these people that we can remember are listed in the acknowledgments section; we apologize if we left anyone out.

If you think this program is useful or have comments or criticisms, please let us know ( We would like to hear it!

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Updated: March 10, 1999. Questions/comments on site to
Copyright © 1998, 1999 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.