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9 April 2018

The Best Way to Journal Your Garden Notes

Garden Journal & Diary

Are you a gardener? If so, I'm going to imagine you've had triumphs and disappointments. Runaway successes and failures. Lessons and regrets. To keep track of your garden's life I highly recommend a book: A Gardener's Journal.

A Gardener's Journal & Notebook

You'll be filling up the pages with the daily comings and goings, the whims of nature, and the phases and cycles and ebbs and flows of the moon, water, clouds.

By keeping this book, I became better at everything. Yes, a better gardener. But even more interesting: I become an observer of nature and its slow movements that can result in big outcomes.

My scribbles below show just how different August 8 can be year to year: a desperation for rainfall, a heatwave of 102 degrees, autumn clematis blooming!, and no tomatoes.

Garden Notes & Diary

I noted strange noises one winter night, only to watch two kits stumble around in the spring.

From these books, I've learned to read the weather like a sailor, to spy on ants like a child, to lick my finger to determine which way the wind is blowing like an old wife. Patterns emerge. Patterns ripped apart.

Your garden is much more than dirt. It’s more than a giver of flowers and a producer of salad goodies.

Start a journal anytime. I recommend buying from Lee Valley.

I am on my third Lee Valley book, studiously filling in the pages for years daily. I re-read these tomes that mark my garden’s growth. I can look back 20 years or two years. I can see my hair-brained schemes and my well-laid plans. 

Garden Journal & Notes

Here are some events I've tracked:

  1. Storms and rains. We've lost some old friends (trees), and when I read about them, I remember them again. I know that because the summer of 2002 was dryer than normal, we had a small apples crop.
  2. Human visitors. It’s like a hotel guest book but for the garden. I relive the Garden Conservancy Open Days and parties.
  3. Celestial effects. I can see when the moon was full and maybe what happened shortly afterwards, or what bloomed that evening.
  4. Specialty crops. I know I added bees in 1999; I had an awesome crop of raspberries in 2015; and, the monastery garden boxwoods had their heads chopped off in 2017.
Garden Journal & Diary

Re-reading it can bring you closer to understanding nature. You may not turn into E.O. Wilson but recording makes you a better observer.