Saturday, January 26, 2008

Garden Journals

Carol has a post up about her Garden Journal. She has asked us what type of journal we use and what do we put in it. Well, as you can see my garden journaling started a long time ago. These little booklets were the beginning of my journaling days. In these journals I didn't really get into my gardening as much as I guess I anticipated. Most of what is in these journals are what my children were doing at this time. I believe that is why I started these. I was losing track of days and not knowing who was where when. I was working full time and this helped me keep track of days. I could look back every week or so and remember just what we were doing at a certain time. Life was quite the whirl wind then. A few years later after trying a regular journal a few years I bought these daily journals. They were nice in that they had the date, day, year and a small space to write a few things if you wanted a little detail to remember.

As you can see the format is something like the Garden Journal that Carol uses. I wrote the temps and a few lines about what was going on at that time. Finally a lot was noted about my garden .

This year I decided to add this Gardener's Journal to my record keeping. Carol going on about how easy it was to compare years was one reason why I liked it. The other reason was because my DB has just inherited his Grandfather's Journals. The ones he got were from 1955 -197? Grandfather's Journals are great because not only did he journal about his gardens but he was a great naturalist and he made note of all the happenings around their property. Not only that but everyone loves to look for dates when they are mentioned as when arriving or departing from a visit or helping with garden chores. It is a great read. As Carol also mentioned you can get some insight into a Loved Ones life by reading these journals. I want my Grands to be able to see that I thought them important enough to be noted in my Journal as well as in my heart. It is just so nice to see something concrete so to speak.
Grandfather kept the highs and lows when possible. This New Gardener's Journal has a place for this. Plus I hope to keep track of the garden plus any comings and goings of family, friends plus any other natural happenings in our life.
The Garden Journal that I have kept the past eleven years has been in a hard bound sketch book. No I don't sketch very often in these journals. I like the idea that I can sketch if I am inspired to do so but for the most part I just like the feeling of the book in my hand. I do make good use of most all the pages. Some years I have crammed two years into a book. some years overlap in books. It isn't a very methodical, organized way of garden journaling but it works for me. Actually I know it isn't very good for looking up what I have planted or when. I do enjoy how I do this, it is fun for me.I use the same size since what brought me to this type of journal is this leather cover that I bought said years ago. It keeps my journal clean on the outside. I can leave it out in a light rain and all is well and good after drying it off. I try not to do this but it happens. I also use one of those ribbon book marks that has several colored ribbons, like they sell for marking your bible. These ribbons help me keep track where I have lists say for chores for spring. Or like last year when I was planning a garden party I had a ribbon at where my list for guests, one for decorations I wanted to use, one for chores just related to the party. So you see all those colored ribbons kept me from becoming more frazzled and I felt organized to a certain degree.
Do I write in my garden journal every day?? No. Especially now that I have the big Green Monster of a Garden Journal. I will keep at that with putting the daily temps in and a short note as to what is going on. This sketch journal I will still use for my garden 'thoughts'. Especially this time of year I have all sorts of ideas about the garden. I like to write them down. Explore the thought and then I can relax and watch it unfold. That is if I don't decide it isn't in the works for this year.
A project I have whorling around my mind now is the garden bench I have been talking about making. I just can't make up my mind as to what I want to build. From magazines I have cut out many benches and chairs that are interesting to me and within my skill/tool range. Now I just have to decide what I want to do.
I often put photos of the garden in this journal. This is where it gets a little out of control. These books aren't made for such treatment. I have thought, just about yearly, about changing the style of my journal to a ring bound journal so that the pages would lie flat and not be so bulged and, well I guess I will say it, UGLY. However I just don't like the 'feel' of those journals.
So I guess I will just plug along. Cutting up my garden magazines and filing most of the pictures away but when I get a project in mind I pull out corresponding photos and paste them into my journal where I can mull over them. Draw over them and soak up all the inspiration I need to complete a project.
Oh yes, What do I do with my plant tags?? That is another unruly aspect of this type of journal. I staple them into place at the time of planting and hope for the best. Now this I might try to manage a little different now that I am blogging. I have wanted to know the names of many things since I started blogging. Hmmmm This is another winter dreamin' project. How do you keep track of your garden?


  1. Lisa, I LOVE your messy journals! That's what makes them fun! I have never kept a gardening journal. That was really the reason I started blogging, but I think maybe a written one could be rather fun.

  2. Your journals are a great way to keep track of all that is happening in your garden.

    I bought the big green gardening book in 1999 and haven't been good about filling it in. I journal regularly but not about the garden.

    Good post!

  3. Wow. You're organized. I'm impressed. You scare me.

  4. Kylee, I am glad you like my messy journals. I have to write things down so I remember. I have a mind has very few megabites.

    Kate, I hope to keep up the 10 year diary. We will see.

    Now Jim, no one has ever called me organized. This is why I have to write things down.

  5. I love your journal! The messier the more character in my opinion! I have a journal of sorts that I keep to document our homeschooling - I wonder if I can combine the two - gardening and homeschooling...
    afterall, is there a better day of homeschooling than one spent in the garden??

  6. Your many journals are impressive, indeed. The important thing is they work for you and you are doing a lot more than most gardeners when it comes to recording what you do in your garden.

    The plant tags are always a problem. I tack all mine to a big bulletin board in the garage. But I've run out of room and need to take down the tags for the plants that are no longer living in my garden.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  7. Sherry, of course you can combine gardening and homeschooling. It is all about nurturing what we love.

    Hmmmm Plant tags in the garage on a bulliten board. CAorl that sounds interesting. Mine are often in a pot on a shelf there waiting their positioining into the current journal. The reason I write so much donw is that I can't remember anything.

  8. I really need to keep a better track of things. I have all of my plant tags in a plastic zip-lock bag, and I've never kept a journal before.

    I like the one you and Carol have because there isn't much space to fill and I love the way it is dated. It would be so much easier to compare
    what is going on in the garden from year to year.

  9. Dear Lisa,
    I love your journals. I too keep journals. I have the history of each garden bed and photos. I also keep a monthly journal. I guess I just like to write.

  10. Your sketchbook journals are art & artifact! I have the 10 yr journal book (on my 2d) & it's very practical, especially if you like to compare 1st blooming dates, 1st frost, etc. I think you will find it a great resource if you stick with it. Plant tags? I don't need no stinkin' plant tags.

  11. Actually, I usually set a plant tag on the soil next to a newly planted plant, then cover the tag with mulch. That way, the tag is right where I need it when I want to see it. Except in winter, when it's buried under a foot of snow.

  12. Robin I too need a better way to keep my tags. I am torn because I want them with where I plant them etc. I haven't a good system yet. After all these years I am not going to worry about it too much.

    Sherry, I too like to write. I also keep a yearly birding journal. Of course when we travel I keep a journal. I even like to buy journals even though I don't have an immidiate use for them. One boring winter I even made some. What can I say?? I'm sick :/

  13. I got one of those journals like Carol's too. I love it, but it's going to take me a while to find a rhythm for it. I've kept a regular journal for years, but this is my first stab at an exclusively garden journal. As for plant tags--I need some sort of system--they are in desk drawers, the laundry room, and under the house. I love your drawings and picture cut-outs!

  14. What a wonderful post to read, Lisa! I was smiling when seeing your garden journals....they look so similar to mine!! My minds also has just a few megabites ;-)!! But since las year when I started blogging I have stopped to write (lack of time or lazyness?)...and I see now, that I have to do it again. It is fun and interesting to compare what you have done on a specific day in different years. In the beginning it was a great help to me...e.g. when I have to cut something, when I could take the delicate plants outside etc. And so I didn't repeat all the mistakes...However, the "tag" problem still exists...actually they are collected in a box...but this is not a good solution. If you find one, please tell me ;-) !!

  15. Barbara, I have wondered how my written journal will fare with me bloging now. We will see. I think I will write in my journal. I just don't go to the computer to journal. I like to curl up in a chair or sit in the garden to do my garden journal. Something about a nice feeling book and the pen with the color of ink that suites my mood gets me going.

    Thank you to all who have given me ideas about the plant tags. I like MrMcD's just "don't need them" thought but I do need them. Geez I write down and keep tags and the where abouts of plants and I still can't remember or find information when I need it. Oh well, I know the world won't stop rotating because of this.

  16. Wow Lisa, I am so impressed! I am one of those people who has good intentions to journal, but then quickly finds weeks go by without any entries. I think that's wonderful that you have all this to pass down to future generations in your family. Someday, someone will have a blog entitled, "My Grandmother's Journals?" :c)

  17. Lisa, your journals are great. The more messy and soil stained they are the better. I don't seem to keep at home journals on paper. When I was teen I used to keep a journal on a 5 1/4" floppy disk. No way of getting it off it now.


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