My husband Dan is pretty great. For many reasons. He's smart, funny, honest and generous, to name a few. He also finds me great birthday gifts. On several of my birthdays over the years, he has given me some spiffy garden tools, accessories, and books. With my birthday in the cold depths of February, these gardening treasures get me excited about the promise of spring and the smell of dirt, blossoms, and rain.
I start planning and dreaming about my garden pretty early in the year, and I have accrued quite a collection of random scraps of paper with notes and drawings. They've always been disorganized: sticking out of gardening books or magazines, or lying crumpled and muck-stained on a dusty shelf in the garage. Needless to say, I've wasted a good amount of time looking for the notes I've written to remind myself of things from season to season. Receiving the garden journal was a wee revelation.
The Lee Valley garden journal is built to last, with all the acid-free pages sewn into the binding. So even though it's a beautiful book, I have no qualms about taking it outside and thumbing through it with dirt under my nails. The journal has page numbers and a blank index at the beginning of the book that you fill in yourself. That's a pretty handy feature because I can easily find the notes I need to consult. And everything's all in one place, not scattered all over my house and garage.
I keep track of things that will help me out in the current garden season:
I also write down things that will be helpful to know in future gardening seasons:
Keeping track of all this information might seem a little anal. And it probably is.
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.
Jane Hogeterp Koopman
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