A record of your garden observations could be the best tool for expanding your gardening success. The heighten awareness you achieve through documenting changes will be useful in identifying the best approaches and strategies for managing the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Garden journals can take a number of forms from pictures, sketches, lists, writings …
There are an array of paper journals out there specifically marketed to gardeners, including a gardener’s journal which is set up as a ten-year perpetual diary, which you may begin at any time. Though most any notebook could serve as a journal.
Smartphone Apps with accompanying websites such as Evernote or Day One or Diaro can also offer the ability to include an image or GPS coordinates. There are also social garden trackers and organizers such as MyFolia.
Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology yardmap project offers features that allow registered users to plan garden sites, compile photos and characteristics. It also includes climate change info, eBird reports, and local resources such as native plant listings and a pollinator guide for your ecoregion.
The key to success with your garden journal will be finding an approach that best suits your needs and interests. Explore the many options to be inspired and creative.
Here are just a couple of ways of organizing garden information:
Collect leaves/plant parts from around your site. Photograph or sketch them and work towards identifying what you have collected. Compile and catalog in a way you find most useful. It may be by plant family, color of flowers, type of plant, habitat or any of the other many characteristic of plants and landscapes.
Create your own personalized calendar using images of your gardens, plants, flowers, etc. These images can be photographs, drawings, paintings, scanned plants, etc. Let your artistic whim guide you. On your calendar you might include last years’ observations as well as space for this years’. Here are a sampling of topics that might be relevant to your interest or garden site.
- weather data (precipitation, temp, wind)
- day length/hours of sunlight
- bloom dates
- Specifics on what you are doing in the garden (e.g. planting, mulching, compost, pruning, fertilizer, watering). What, when, how much and from where?
Share through the comments box other ways and tools for organizing garden information.