In the flush of excitement we all get when planning a new garden, or finding a beautiful new plant at the store, we don’t always think to stop and create a record of our gardening activities. And while it’s not critical to keep a garden record, it can be extremely helpful in knowing how your plants are doing, keeping track of things you’ve tried and either succeeded or failed at, and revisiting the joy your garden brings anytime you’d like.
And that’s where a garden journal comes in. Keeping a garden journal can help you to learn from past experiences. It can also help you keep track of various plants, trees or bushes you have. It can be used to keep notes about common diseases or pests, watering and soil requirements, and so much more.
A garden journal can be used for so much more than just simple record keeping and maintenance though. In fact, it can become a treasured scrapbook and historical journal of your personal gardening adventures.
When you come across a beautiful young plant at the store for instance, and buy it on impulse, you can take a quick picture of it and place that into your garden journal. Then you can add the required growth information of course, because these details will help you three months down the road when you can’t quite remember that particular plant’s name. So record the latin and common names in your journal. Note what the soil, sunlight and water requirements are, and if you can find more information such as diseases and pests to watch for then put that into your garden journal too.
Now the fun part is the regular updates. How often you do these will of course depend on you, but once a month is usually nice. Take a new picture of the plant every month or two. Make additional notes about how it seems to be doing in it’s present location. If you prune it, then get before and after pictures then note down how well (or badly) it seems to respond to trimming.
Write in your garden journal how you feel about the plant too. Do you absolutely adore it? Is it driving you nuts because it tries to spread out too fast? Do you think in restrospect that it would have been better off planted in another location? All of these thoughts occur to every gardener as they’re tending their flowers and bushes, but many of us tend to forget them. By keeping a garden journal though, we can note down these thoughts along with any others as needed.
Garden journals can be used to sketch out ideas for new garden bed designs too, or hold pictures of other gardens and plants we like too. You can clip pictures from magazines, or insert pictures you’ve taken while on vacation or exploring someone else’s garden too.
And one of the best things about keeping a garden journal is the winter time. If you live in an area which gets quite cold and dreary during the winter months, and you long for the beauty of your gardens, you can open the journal and revisit your ideas, plans, and how far your various plants, flowers, and specific gardens have come since the beginning.