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Why Use a Garden Journal?

June 8, 2023
Written by Aaron

As simple or in-depth as you want to make it, a garden journal can be a trusted guidebook and useful tool for even the most simple garden.

If you are starting a garden, or adding to it, you probably have a plan - even if it’s all in your head! Many customers come into Eising Greenhouses with a plant list, or hand drawn diagram, or a design created by our in-house team. This makes plant selection so much easier! But what happens once the plants go into the ground? A garden journal helps us to keep track of what happens from season to season.

Garden Notebook, Diary, Journal or Planner

Call it whatever you like - we’re talking about any method that helps you plan, track and enjoy your garden!

Have you ever found yourself trying to remember what that plant was that did so well last year? What was the name of that tomato that the whole family loved? Or why your daisies just don’t look as good this year as they did last year? This is when a garden journal can be very handy!

You may already have a notebook and coloured pencils out, ready to start making notes and drawing! Or,  you may be like me when I started journalling and thinking that a planner is just another dreaded task. Stick with us, because you can really make this as easy as you like!

If you already have a journal, one of the following suggestions may inspire you to add to it, or change things up. Like a garden, a journal evolves over time and provides a great record of more than just plants.

Getting Started is Easy!

If you would like lots of structure to help you get started, you can purchase journals online and in bookstores that have prompts and sections to fill in. Otherwise, just find a simple, lined notebook (I have one from the dollar store) or work with a notebook you already have. 

Start each entry with a date. What date will you need to do specific tasks? What date did you plant it? What date did it bloom? What date did you harvest the first tomatoes? Dating everything will be very useful over time, as you look back on what worked and what didn’t. 

If you’ve already drawn up a list, or a plan, glue them to pages in your journal. If you have receipts, or plant tags, attach those to a page or two as well, or attach an envelope to stow them away.

Add notes to your entries like where plants came from (garden centre, friend), where you planted them (eg new bed beside the front porch), any special care you gave them (type of soil used or fertilizer)… any specifics that come to mind.

Details Can Always Be Added

Many of us create a plan, and what ends up happening in reality is a little or a lot different. Adding a labeled diagram of your garden area to your journal captures what’s planted and where. Why is that helpful? Here are a few examples to show why this is a great future reference… to remember which annual geranium was stellar in a specific spot last summer when you go to plant it again the following summer. Or, if you are rotating your vegetable crops you can track which vegetables were in specific areas of the garden. Or, which plant did deer find very tasty, leaving a bare spot on the edge of a bed?

Again, be sure to add dates to your entries because they do come in handy when you’re tracking things from year to year.

Pictures and Drawings

This is the next level of detail that can be added - or not! 

Notebooks that are created to be used specifically as garden journals often include different types of pages - lined, dot grid, graph, and blank. These different formats allow for making lists, plotting out gardens, and drawing pictures or pasting in photos. If you’re enjoying tracking what’s in your garden, you may want to start with a journal for this purpose, or one that you can add sheets to so that you can draw or plot. 

It can be very calming to sit in the garden on a nice day and draw in your journal. Or, take pictures during peak bloom times so that you can sit inside and draw on a rainy day or in the middle of winter.  

Seasons may fly by quickly, but your journal is your memory book and trusty reminder of the joy of life in the garden.

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