Friday, January 28, 2011

Garden Journaling or Logging


This week I finally got the chance to get my hands dirty.
It was time to get some seeds started for summer flowers and I was glad to get something, anything growing.


Petunias, Pelargonium's, Trailing  Snapdragons, Swan River Daisies and Heliotrope are all under the lights to start germinating. Also the Verbena seeds are in the dark to start their germination and I even have Viola seeds planted in containers which are setting in the refrigerator for their
three weeks of cool down before they are all set out under the lights or the one window which affords me a little sunlight.


I do not know about other gardeners but the facts are that I am getting older and with adding more flowers to the garden beds and even adding new beds was getting to be a bit confusing  for me at times. With over three hundred and counting different plants in the garden I was forgetting what and where I planted some of them. And that was not counting all of the different bulbs or rhizomes to try to keep track of so I would not dig into them when planting a new flower. The slaughter of  tulip bulbs and daffodils from the spade had me wanting to kick myself.
This all being said and my bad memory confessed to, I wanted to share how I have learned to keep track of my garden beds and the flowers in them. I have adapted a three ringed notebook to keep everything together,nothing fancy and even crude but it serves my purposes well.


One of the things I have is an alphabetical and numbered list of all of my flowers and bulbs. Also numbered spaces and names are left blank of my favorite plants of which I may want to add a new variety to later on such as phlox or echinacea,  all I have to do is add in their names.
I also add plant names for  those plants or shrubs I may not have any of now in the garden but I want or plan to  add later on, such as maybe a Joe Pye Weed or Astrantia of which I do not have now but want to add to the garden. Then if I purchase it all I have to do is add the variety names.

GardenJournal_Diagrams  You may think this is a lot of bother but it helps me immensely in keeping track and especially  when adding
those flowers to bed diagrams.
My garden bed diagrams are very crude and are just hand drawings of a bed. The plants are then written on the bed diagram sheet with their numbers and then the numbers are added to the bed diagram. When you get so many flowers , and you will, you will not have room to write all of the flowers into the bed diagram but you can add a lot of numbers to a diagram. This way I know where every flower or bulb is planted in that particular bed.



Also added to the journal is seed starting worksheets.
This is the worksheet of the seeds I started this week.
On the fact sheet, which you can print off from Martha Stewart, is the date I sowed the seeds, when I planted them
out and notes on which I jot down when the seeds started growing, if they were hard to germinate, or if they did not germinate and a date if I re-sowed some.
Some years I had trouble with seeds such as Lantana. I made a note to not to even try them again.LOL! Or the Stock seeds that took forever to get started and then took forever to bloom. You can add your own little notes.

GardenJ_SeedBills  GardenJournal_SeedPictures

I also keep the seed packs which have pictures of the
flower  on them. For those who come in plain packets or seeds from friends I get a picture out of a gardening catalog or use a picture off of the internet from the company I bought them from just for my own use and keep them in the journal. At least I want to see what that flower was suppose to look like. Even if the Zaraha Zinnia did not look like the picture it was advertised as. LOL! I keep the seed packets and all the seed bills in a plastic sleeve in the journal.


In the journal I have notebook dividers for bulbs, Perennials, Shade Perennials, Roses, Hydrangeas, Shrubs and vines, etc.


In each of these divided categories I have sheets on each plant or bulb in the garden with the name,variety, where purchased, the date I purchased it, how much it cost and where  it is planted. I also add a picture and the growing instructions to the sheet from catalogs.


Or you can add the plant tag to the sheet or scan a copy of the tag and add it to the garden sheet. This keeps all of your information at your finger tips.

You may even want to take a picture of your plant blooming and add it to the sheet.


Here again I have plastic  sleeves which contain the invoices or register slips of the plants I have bought. This has gotten
me replacement plants so many times because I had the customer number and order numbers and the dates to
give to those nurseries from which they were bought.

There are many blogs and sites online to get worksheets and logs for your Garden Journal or records.

Such as:

Seed Worksheet at Martha Stewart.
Garden Tracker has all sorts of fun garden worksheets.
Urban Extension even has a cute one for Children’s first garden.
Hobby Farms

or even seed envelopes for those swaps:
Seed Envelope templates at Blossom Swap.
Garden Time Online

There are so many sites for free printable gardening helps.
Do your own online search there is bound to be something to your liking.
I hope you at least got a few tips  and you can make them your own to help you in your gardening journaling.
But then maybe you all have good memories and know the names and where everyone of your plants and bulbs are located.
I just know the older I get and the more I get,
the more I forget. ;-)
Happy Gardening,


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Lona, this is so impressive. I have not been a good girl when it comes to keeping notes, but I am finding with the blog I need to get better at this. I do have a garden journal somewhere that I have never used. You have inspired me to look for it and begin using it with my seedlings.


VW said...

Pretty pink header, Lona! And nice organization. I'm afraid I'm moving away from my previously organized ways and just trying to keep my head above water while raising 3 kids and making time for gardening and blogging . . . I have boxes of plant tags that I can organize someday when I get around to it.

Darla said...

This does look like a lot of work..well worth it though. I really should do something a little more organized. I have all my seed packets in a basket and two wire binders with notes, in no paticular order written in gracious bloggers addresses and what I mailed them and when...and what I have received. Do you have a section for plants that didn't do well and ones you will not be trying again?
Doesn't it feel good to see all of those seed trays lined up?

Karen said...

Lona, you are so organized and I am so envious! What a wonderful way to keep track of what's going on in the garden. I have a very bulging cardboard folder brimming with receipts from plants that are covered under warranty and that's about it. Once I remember Carl and I made a video in the garden (using a huge old VHS camera) and I walked with a stick pointing to the hostas and their names...but we changed the garden the next year, so the video was sort of useless.

Your record-keeping is very precise and what an asset to have for the future!

Bonnie said...

My garden journal isn't as extensive as yours. I have a large scrapbook that I write in and put the tags from plants in it. I start a new page each year and record what new plants I put in, where I planted them, what didn't come back from the winter and which plants I moved. I have referred to it many times when I forget the name of a plant or can't find one where it was supposed to be.

Amy said...

Very informative post, Lona. You are so organized and it is nice to see how other people organize and remember names, etc. Thanks for the names of the sites, too.

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

That book is full of valuable information. You have done a great job of organizing it. I have my own method which I hope to share eventually but I'm doing something different with the veggies this year so that is taking my time. Love that you have the tags. I save all of them in pockets toos.

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

Lona you are brilliant. I have said I would do this for years and have not. Looks so organized. Good for you.

Liz said...

Hi Lona,

I have something similar, although not quite as organised, especially since I don't tend to stick to my plans...
I do try to keep tags though and have a little diary where I write names down of plans and dates I bought/planted them.

Taking record shots of the garden also helps a lot. I try to ensure I take view shots once a month so not only can I see the progress but can look back on them over winter to see what needs moving.

Anonymous said...

Lona, You are a fantastic role model for record keeping! I'm really bad at keeping detailed records, though I do recognize the value, as I am also getting older :)

RainGardener said...

Oh Lona I think you're doing a great job. I wish I could be so organized. I have a 3 ring binder that I picked up at a garage sale and it was from some club or something that you ordered more inserts but I just kept it the way it is and ad tickets, notes, receipts and just anything gardening. This year I got the new Western Gardener book but kept my old one that is full of notes also and just bursting. Also writing.
I use to be organized like you and had an alphabetical list with the plant name, what page I could find it in my 'gardening bible' Western Gardener, what it liked for food, water, daylight whatever. But when I got a computer these discs from the word processor I had used weren't comaptible so I never got back to it. I keep wanting to but just haven't! Now I'm going to go visit the sites you linked to on here and have a look. Thank you so much.
Oh by the way - I FINALLY mailed your seeds yesterday so you can be watching for them. Goll, I hope they work for you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, don't 'cha just love this time of year, so great, time to be outside and tend to the dirt, love it! Great info on journaling, thanks a bunch! Can't wait to come back and see what you grow this year.

Bernie said...

An organizational triumph, Lona. If I had a garden like yours, this is definitely something I would want to do ... it's right up my alley. In my part of the world, there's no adding to garden beds or planting out loads of bulbs, but I can see just how helpful such a journal would be if there was such a gardening life.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Bernie: I also like just looking through it in the winter and planning.

Cindy Sue: Hi! So glad you dropped by. Have a great weekend.

RG: I love my computer but I also like having things on paper just in case. These old computers change so much. Thanks so much for sending the seeds. I will be watching for them.

gardenassylum: It was a necessity for me to get down the details. Senility runs in the family.

Liz: I like your idea of keeping pictures to make possible moves later on. These digital cameras are just so handy. I make notes all year and add them into the notebook of moves. I am always moving something. You would think with all the records I keep there would be less moving. LOL!

GISandbox: A girl does what a girl has to. LOL! Have a wonderful weekend.

GardeneronSherlock: I will be waiting to see how you organize yours. I am always looking for new ideas. Have a great weekend!

Amy: There are some really nice sites out there with aides to help in the garden. Thanks for dropping by.

Bonnie: Your scrapbook sounds like a good idea too. I am always looking for new ideas.They do come in handy.

Karen: I forget how many plants I have collected until I start looking through that notebook.It went from a one inch notebook to a two and now it is a three inch. LOL!I think I may have to stop soon or get two notebooks.

Darla: Oh, see I forgot that one. I have my seed swap buddies addresses in there too. LOL! See why I need a notebook? I have notes telling me not to even attempt to grow certain plant failures.I had cosmos as one but I was to stubborn to quit and got some to finally grow last summer. Your seeds were one.You are still a young thing so you can remember all this stuff.

VW: With three little ones you are busy. I was not as organized when my two were younger either.Too busy. Have a great weekend!

Eillen: It will be great for your seed starting.It is good to keep track of what seeds the best.

Janet said...

Oh my Lona, I thought I was keeping good track of what I have planted since we moved....until I read your posting. Wow!!! Very impressive. For now I am happy I have record of what I have added to the garden and photos to back it up....written record?? Maybe next year.

Balisha said...

Wow girlfriend! That's all I can say. I'm sitting here with my mouth open reading this post. You get an A+ for organizational skills.I'm going to read it again...maybe some of it will rub off on me..Balisha

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Balisha: Good writing for winter days to keep me busy LOL!

Janet:Photos are so important in keeping records of our flowers too.Have a wonderful weekend!

sweetbay said...

There is a wealth of information in your journal! You are so much more organized than I will ever be.

Q said...

Wonderful journal!
I also forget from year to year just where everything is. Worth the effort in keeping such a nice journal. Nice to get your hands in some dirt too.

Anonymous said...

Lona, you are so organized. I think Martha would be jealous. I wish I could be like you and have a great garden journal, but it is too late to start one now. I too have slaughtered many a bulb.

I am glad you show your journal and explained your ordering system.

Stephanie said...

All my plants are grown in pots. Sometimes I move them around, replace plants and so on. But these activities made me forget about when I planted them and so on. Looks like I really need one log like yours. Oh you are so organised. I admire the way you systematically keep track of your plants. And btw, I notice your fungicide is on the rack with your seeds... you worried it will be frozen in the cold? he he... LOL ;-D

paul said...

Very Good Article on Fresh flowers

T Opdycke said...

I've seen garden journals before, but nothing like yours! Your garden journal is truly impressive and is testimony to just how much you love the fine art of gardening. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas.

Anonymous said...

My gosh, you are glad that your season has started..all the best...

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Sweetbay: Maybe I go overboard doing some things like record keeping but I have always been that way. LOL! Have a wonderful weekend:

Sherry:It did feel good to be playing in the dirt again. Sort of like going back to my mud pie days. LOL!

GardenWalk: Martha would never have such crude diagrams as mine. LOL!

Stephanie: Anything liquid around here is a frozen these days. LOL!

Paul: I hope you get some flower orders with the free advertisement. I will allow you one, but only one.

T: I bet you never saw such a crude and messy garden journal. lOL!

Hazeltree: It is good to be doing a touch of gardening again. Thanks for dropping by.

Jean said...

Great journaling! I know I would never keep it up enen tho I think it's a wonderful idea. Love the spring look of your header and the awesome butterfly photos! Jean

Anonymous said...

Lona, I have been thinking about a system for myself but I am much farther down the road to chaos with over a thousand plants and probably more. Everything is written down in a chronological journal starting in 1983, but I have to remember (or find) the year I bought the plant to find it in the journal. I have been thinking of an on line data base and wondered if you considered that or if any of your readers use one that they would recommend. Thanks, Carolyn

Kay said...

Wow, you are so organized. Good for you. Looks like you have a hobby that you love.

Donald's Garden said...

Your ogranization skills are inspiring! Note to self 'get organized!' :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Lona,
I am not as organized as you are but I do have a binder where I keep all my plant tags. You are right. It makes it easier to keep track of everything.
Have a great weekend. Jennifer

Anonymous said...

Lona your journal is incredible. I'm embarrassed to say I have nothing! I still cut bulbs in half when planting, forget where things are, etc. I can't even imagine beginning the task of putting a book like yours together (although winter would be a great time to start this project). Good for you!

The Redneck Rosarian said...

Thomas Jefferson himself would be shamed for sure, as he surely did not keep such a fine garden journal as this one. I am amazed at how you pulled it all together. Wow! What a great idea.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Chris: I have been adding to it for a few years now so it has been done a little at a time.Have a wonderful weekend.

Kathleen: Winter is just the time to catch it all up into the journal. Gardening through paper. LOL!

Jennifer: I know it helps me so much. Have a wonderful weekend.

Donald:Maybe I am just an organization fanatic. LOL! Thanks for dropping by.

Kay: I do love my flowers! LOL!

Carolyn: Wow! You have got flowers and plants. I am not computer savvy enough to do an on line data base. Dave's Garden has an online data base that I use to look up plants on when I am wondering how to germinate or propagate something. Thanks for dropping by.

Jean: I am trying to convince myself that spring will get here. LOL! I needed something cheerful to look at instead of snow.

Kate (daisygirl_io) said...

What a great post. I was actually just thinking of starting a bigger journal/scrapbook this year. Last year was the first time I actually recorded what I purchased, what plants were in what containers (since most of mine are pots and containers), etc. But I also have a bunch of pages from magazines and ideas that I'd like to put together. I was thinking of either a sketchpad type of book or the 3 ring binder. I really like yours though. Thanks for sharing!

scottweberpdx said...

Such a good idea...I've been thinking of doing something similar for the past few months...this is a great inspiration. I've also begun being really consistent with photographing the garden at different times during the really help me remember exactly when certain plants emerge, what they look like...their eventual size, etc.