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Keeping A Journal

Category: Garden Planning, Presenting "The Curious Gardener", Tools & Techniques

It’s a tradition among some gardeners to keep a journal.  I like to end the season by recording my plans for next season in my Womanswork Journal. When I start thinking about next season, right about now in the middle of winter, it’s fun to begin with a review of those plans and visions.

For some gardening activities there’s a scientific basis for keeping notes. If you like to start seeds indoors it’s advantageous to keep track of when you planted them, when they germinated, when you transplanted them to larger cells (called ‘pricking them out’) and when they were ready to plant outdoors.  Make a note of germination rates too.

Every time I buy a significant new plant for the garden I record it in my journal. If it’s a tree or shrub it’s nice to be able to look back in future years to see how long I’ve had it and whether I can declare it established in its new home, or still becoming established.  When planning a succession of blooms in the garden it’s nice to record when things typically bloom. I like to keep track of bloom times, knowing it can vary somewhat from year to year.

If you like to add visuals you can make sketches. They don’t have to be artist quality, but just enough to give you the information you want. Sometimes I’ll sketch a perennial garden bed in the fall, jotting in what’s where so I don’t forget, and so I know where the holes.

I sent my friend the artist Kathryn Freeman a Womanswork journal recently and she made a lovely sketch for the garden beds in front of her Maryland home.  Click here to watch a sped-up version of Kathryn sketching.  Kathryn incorporates nature in most of her paintings, and her oil painting ‘Trained Garden Rabbits’, shown here, was reproduced by Womanswork for notecards, available for sale on our website. For a treat click here to see more of Kathryn’s magical work.

Kathryn’s finished sketch for her garden beds at home.

Journaling is a great way to record gardening events, but it can be used for much more.  Many of us are finding journals a wonderful way to process events happening around us over which we have no control.  And sometimes the two worlds collide, as in the notation I wrote in my garden journal recently “I will start more seeds indoors this year because I will be spending a lot more time at home.”

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One thought on “Keeping A Journal

  1. Annette Spry says:

    Love this reference. What a great Idea

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