Written on August 8, 2013 at 5:30 am , by Whitney Curtis
I’ve mentioned here before how I use a gardening journal to keep track of what I’ve planted, where I planted and how plants fare in my garden. Here’s how I use mine and a few tips if you’d like to start a garden journal of your own. It’s always been really helpful to look back on these notes!
1. Save Your Tags
I have three types of gardenias in various places around my garden and sometimes I need to reference which ones are in which places. Someday I might want to add another plant of the same variety or if one plant dies I will need to know the what kind it was so I can replace it easily. Plus, some annuals have done much better than others, so I keep track of which pansies or calibrachoas are my favorites. I promise, it makes everything easier!
2. What You Planted Where
Last year I planted a beautiful, bushy bleeding heart beside a lovely old bench in my garden. It was a lovely scene for a few months until winter came and bit everything back. Then this spring, I had almost completely forgotten about it when I noticed a bleeding heart that was blooming in a friends’ garden. Where was mine?! I checked everywhere as soon as I got home. My precious bleeding heart was no where to be found! I have no idea what happened to it and I’m so disappointed. It’s good to know though, when you plant something and it doesn’t come back, so that you avoid making the same mistake twice. I’ll likely try again with a bleeding heart, in a different location this time.
I like to keep track of how much sunlight different areas of my garden get during all the seasons. The backyard, except for early spring, can only be defined as one word: shady. But I have one sunny garden bed (you can see it here) that gets plenty of light around mid-day. When I was first starting my garden, I used to run outside and check if the sun had popped over my neighbors roof yet or if it had fallen down behind the trees across the street to set. I wanted to keep track of the sunlight so I’d know what type of plants would do best in that environment.
When we started our garden plans, there was literally nothing in our yard. Since we were starting from nothing, it was easy to write down our plan. We planted three ligustrum shrubs for structure, a little Solomon’s Seal here, groups of hostas there, and a few ferns sprinkled in between. These plants have become the backbone of my garden and I love to look back at sketches of what we planned to do. We’ve created a little haven here and I love seeing how far we’ve come.
(The brick garden path I drew here doesn’t look like this anymore! It had a small brick patio at the end there, but this past spring we got rid of the end “patio” and laid the bricks to continue the winding path around to the right. It’s fun to look back and remember structures of the garden too, not just the plants.)
Now, this reminds me that I need to update my garden journal on our projects from this past spring and summer – what worked and what didn’t and what’s growing and what’s not. Next year, I’ll be glad I took the time to write it down. Do you all keep a gardening journal? What’s most helpful to keep track of? I’d love to hear your suggestions for what I should add!