If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not much of a garden planner which is contrary to almost everything else in my life (no one has ever accused me of spontaneity). I buy plants that look fun and different from what I already have. I buy plants that have survived well in the past but in new colors or shapes. And then I plant them wherever I can find an empty spot.
My gardens of colorful and interesting but a bit of a patchwork quilt. I tell people it’s a cottage garden concept, but really it is just an avant garde attitude toward a passion in my life.
It isn’t uncommon for me to plant new additions too close to an established plant because it hasn’t emerged yet. I regularly forget what is where and plant a tall something in front of a short something. Don’t even get me started on bulbs that go in the ground in the fall when the greens from spring are no longer visible.
In hopes of being a better planner I’ve decided to create a garden journal.
Here’s my plan. I’m going to…
Create a garden plan that names each of my flower beds so that it will be easier to identify which location I’m recording information about. Most advice columns suggest free-hand drawing your garden plan and there are lots of software packages that will help you draw your garden electronically (here’s a free one). I’m lucky. I still have the original plan from when my house was built five years ago. So all I need to do is scan it into my computer.
Create a garden folder in my computer’s document folder that will hold:
- Journal pages
- Garden plan
- Excel spreadsheet of costs (scary since I’ve never tracked what I spent before).
Photograph each bed and in some cases specific plants every two weeks.
Journal pages will record bed-by-bed:
- Photographs with text listing what is in each image on each date.
- Planting and transplanting dates and locations
- Source and cost of plants and seeds
- Plant characteristics (size, date they emerge, color, problems or things to watch for)
- Date and type of fertilizer, pesticides or other chemicals applied, and to which plants
- Any other observations
Other pages will record:
- Wish list – plants, tools or structures I would love to have
- Fun stuff and inspirational thoughts as I love collecting flower trivia
- Gardening website URLs that include notes about which vendors are best for what types of purchases.
It’s a pretty aggressive plan. So if I do even a quarter of this in my first year I’ll consider it a success and will continue to build on the journal in subsequent growing seasons.