A couple years ago, Dan got me a box of gardening treasures from Lee Valley (for sure one of our favourite stores). One of the things in the box was a beautiful hardcover gardening journal. I had never thought of having a gardening journal. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts,
I keep track of things that will help me out in the current garden season:
- In March, I start thinking about the garden projects I want to do in the upcoming season. These plans go in the journal. Putting my plans in writing helps me remember them amidst the day-to-day gardening jobs. It also keeps me honest when I visit the garden centre, a place where I easily get carried away with plant purchases.
- I jot down care guidelines for the plants in my gardens, gleaned from the embarrassing number of gardening books I have.
- I take note of significant plant maintenance activities (pruning, feeding, etc.), including dates, and how the plants respond. This way, I'll have a better understanding of what helps and what doesn't from year to year.
- I draw maps of my gardens so I remember which plants are where. I adjust the map throughout the season as I add new plants or move plants.
- I try to monitor soil conditions, though I'm not crazy vigilant about it. I test the soil in different gardens, take note of the results, and record anything I do to modify the soil.
- I take note of any pest, disease, or fungus issues and what remedies I try. Last year, it was swearword-inducing aphids in the cherry tree and powdery mildew on my garden phlox.
- I have started sticking into the journal the tags/labels from the plants I buy. The labels usually have good information, especially the plant's various names.
But for me, it's just one more enjoyable part of a process and passion I already enjoy so much. Keeping a garden journal lets me enjoy gardening even when I can't dig a spade into the earth, when all the plants are huddled under their blankets of fall leaves and snow. It keeps me organized, and I think it probably helps me take better care of the plants that have been entrusted to me.
If you want to start a garden journal, you don't need to get a spiffy Lee Valley one like I have (thought it sure is nice). All you need is a notebook or a binder, a pen or pencil, some ideas, and some insights. Oh, and some plants to write about.
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