Like people, every garden is different. Discovering your garden’s quirks and secrets is part of the fun of gardening. You can get to know your little piece of landscape better than anyone else in the world.
One of the best ways to do this is to keep a garden journal. It doesn’t have to take a lot of effort, and look at the rewards:
- You’ll learn about plants from real life, not from what other people say.
- You’ll learn to know your own garden, literally from the ground up.
- You’ll discover your garden’s microclimate—warm spots, cooler patches, areas whipped by winter winds, and where sun and shade fall at different times of the year.
- You’ll learn from your successes and failures. A garden is a sort of laboratory. You try things and sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. If a plant dies twice on you, for example, you’ll know it’s not for you.
- Bottom line: you’ll learn things that will help you enjoy your garden more.
Refresh your memory
Keeping a garden journal can also be a lot of fun. Your notes can bring back memories of the day a thoughtful friend brought some of her plants over to you. You can check past scribbles about weather to find out when you can expect the ground to thaw (useful in this time of climate change). And you’ll be able to look up the store where you got your favourite terra-cotta planter.
What to record
What you put in your garden journal is entirely up to you. Useful things include:
- Successes and failures (see above)
- Weather notes: temperature; wind; sun/rain/cloud/snow
- When your plants bloom and how long the flowers last
- New plants: where you got them; where and when you planted them
- Plant tags, garden equipment user guides and receipts
- Garden diagrams and photos
- Ideas—new plants to try, gardens to visit, interesting garden stores.
Main image courtesy of Moleskine.