With this new app from the French company Parrot, you'll never go away for awhile and come back to withering or dead plants. Parrot Flower Power -- the green device at the front of the pot -- is a sensor that can monitor moisture, fertilizer, temperature, and light.
You sync it to your mobile phone with Bluetooth, and it links to an app that has a database of some 6000 plants and trees, along with the maintenance requirements for each one. You'll get notice if the plant needs attention, and you can also chart and keep a year's worth of info.
For the time being, it only works on iOS. You can order it online through Amazon or purchase it at Brookstone and Verizon stores. The sensor monitors soil conditions in a radius of about four inches, so it would certainly work in planter boxes. But if you buy a number of sensors, it will work in the garden as well.