Anyone with a garden needs a garden journal. Why? Indulge me while I enumerate a few examples, in a Q & A format, of cocktail hour, garden observations that pose questions and present critical-ish thinking.
- Hmm. I thought I’d put some peonies here but all I see is a huge catmint. How Odd.
- Geez, where did all these ugly orange daylilies come from?
- Wow, that catmint is *&^% huge. I must remember to divide it next year.
- I think that’s a weed but I’ll wait till it flowers to be sure.
- How great! These annuals that I put into this empty spot are glorious! I must remember that this space is reserved for iris divisions in the spring.
- This iris really needs to be divided. I wonder what color it is.
- Oh. That poor rose is really struggling there, getting swamped by the……………….I must remember to move it in the fall.
- You DID put some peonies there. Three of them, fragrant ones, special ones, expensive ones, in early spring, when the ground was quite bare and there was no suggestion that the catmint would become Master of the Universe. You don’t remember? Hmmm. Catmint is cheap; peonies aren’t. Fix this!
- Satan sent them. Mark them with a 666 label, and move them to the Beelzebub Garden/Compost Pile in late fall or early spring.
- All the catmints will be HUGE, no matter where you put them. Lovely, yes, and the bees adore them. Commit to them. Treat them as the giant plants they will become, but not where they will shade out the other lovelies.
- It flowered. It’s a weed that’s now gone to seed, spreading its progeny throughout the garden. Next spring there will be a hundred of them. If you were clever enough to make a note of its leaf shape, you might have saved yourself a few hours of weeding next year.
- Oh sure! You’ll never remember that, and come next spring, you’ll be looking for locations for iris divisions and you’ll have long forgotten about this spot.
- Photos will answer that question. If you’d photographed the gardens you wouldn’t be perpetuating this hugely irritating,’ hit or miss’ garden design approach, which, by the way, you would never in a million years, permit for your clients!
- But, you won’t. Not without a garden journal ‘To-Do’ List, entitled Fall 2014. When fall begins to roll around, which is right around the corner, you’ll be busy harvesting winter squash and leeks, chopping and splitting wood, moving tender plants into the greenhouse, bringing in firewood, lifting dahlia tubers, cleaning out the henhouse,…forget it.
And this is why I recommend keeping a Garden Journal. I’m a Luddite, so I like to use one that I purchase from Lee Valley, which has a perpetual calender and allows for an index/table of contents to reference the numbered pages. Here, I can make journal entries with their correlative page numbers, which makes referencing information very simple. Of course you could use an electronic device to do this, and there’s probably even an app for garden journaling. The main objective here is to take control of your landscape and gardens, as much as one can do such a thing, so as to avoid disappointment next season. A Garden Journal is a wondrous thing! Over the years, when questions arise over how things were performing in the garden in the past, I simply scroll through the entries and discover the answers. It’s great fun and hugely useful and enlightening! Gardeners!!!! Get a garden journal going, if you don’t already have one, and you’ll be gratified to learn what you have control over and what you don’t. It’s a great thing to have.