Why keeping a garden journal is a great idea and how to keep one.
Updated: Mar 3, 2019
If you are in to gardening in any way at all you probably already know that two of the things you really need to try and master are 'patience' and 'hope'.
Not such an easy ask for those of us who want everything to look perfect NOW, and be bloomimg NOW (ahem, that would be me) but there are some skills you could start implementing to help turn hope in to results and occupy the mind enough to forget how long everything takes to grow, therefore mastering patience. Result!
Planting a garden from scratch obviously needs a bit of creativity and knowledge too but to grow a successful, mature garden oasis that gives you years of joy and colour also requires a bit of forward planning and making plenty of notes along the way.
That's where Garden Journaling comes in.
The benefits of this are numerous. For starters your journal will over time become your garden bible. A reference point for you to go back over again and again, reminding yourself of all the triumphs and failures and the things you did that worked well, (or not so well) to make your garden a success.
Making plant profiles of all your most prized blooms can go in to your journal. Jotting down when you put a certain plant in, what day, month, year, what position you planted it and making notes of its progress will start to build a detailed profile of that plant so that you will really get to know it well and learn how to get the very best out of it. You can look up how to prune it, take cuttings from it, save seeds, how to prepare it if using it for cooking or medicine. In fact the list goes on and all the time you can add to its profile.
You can use the same journaling method for seed planting too and have a little fun experimenting. Using seeds from the same packet but using different batches to try out a variety of growing methods then noting it all down in a record will give you a great idea of what worked well and what didn't so that the following year you will be more experienced and have much better results straight off.
If you want to be extra nerdy you could try planting seeds and saplings on different moon phases. I personally find a bit of bio - dynamic gardening fascinating. The old Almanac gardening styles have some fabulous results when implemented properly and you can learn so much from the old farming masters.
Another great reason to keep a garden journal is one that has to do with memory!
The amount of times I've dug up a plant in the autumn (lets go with the classic Dahlia scenario here) and potted it up in the shed to over winter 'without' marking it or making and reference in my journal has left me hanging on a number of occasions. I don't know what on earth made me think I would remember which pot I put it in, let alone what colour ( it's currently a toss up between yellow and purple) but here I am, spring well on the way now and if I'd only written everything in my journal I would know exactly what colour and which bed to plant it in again this year. Instead I'm going to have to wait until mid July (how long???) before its glorious blooms are revealed and if I don't put it in the right bed it will most likely clash with something else.
The 'non' journaling dahlia dilemmas are real folks!
So, that's 3 very good reasons why you should keep a garden journal.
1. Conquer patience
2. Turn hope into positive results.
2. Cheat memory
If you are offering your gardening services to others and have regular clients who ask you to maintain their gardens, like we do in our gardening business, Project Green Thumb, I would strongly advise keeping a garden journal for every garden.
In fact I would say its pretty essential.
Imagine all the valuable work you did in maintaining, feeding and treating a lawn for example and not noting when the last feed was or when the next one is due. Imagine having ten different gardens to manage and not keeping records of any of them.
I'll say no more!
So now I've convinced you that garden journaling is a good idea how are you going to make one?
This is the fun bit. Well at least it is if you are a creative type like me. If you are not don't worry there is a garden journal style for everyone
There are the printable PDF types that you can literally down load and put in to a nice tidy file and start using immediately or you can get your self a decent sized scrap book and start doodling drawing and scribbling away to your hearts content.
If you are more of' the 'left brain' type and just want something very practical in file format then there are some lovely journals you can purchase on line as an instant downloadable PDF. We use one like this for our customers garden maintenance journals.
Here is one example
And if that's still not going to work for you but you REALLY want a fabulous, well organised, beautiful garden with a journal to boot but you just don't have the time to get it all done then you probably need a gardener who can do it all for you.
Look around you local area or ask friends and neighbours if they could recommend a good gardener. Nothing beats a recommendation.
And if you are reading this and live in East London give us a call or visit our website and check out our own garden maintenance service. We'd love to help out
Alison @ Project Green Thumb