By Janice Brown of On the Grow
I pulled out my old garden journal today to show a friend how my garden has evolved through the years and it reminded me of how useful journaling your garden can be. Garden journaling can be done in many ways: just pictures, just logs of what’s growing and how it’s growing, diagrams of plantings, or a combination of any of these.
As your garden bounces back from the recent freezes, now is a good time to take stock of it through journaling to set some goals for the year. While branches are still relatively bare you can really get a good look at the structure of your garden. And because it’s been fairly warm the last few weeks, plants that died back completely to the ground are starting to come back from the root now, so you can get a pretty good idea of what survived and what didn’t.
If you don’t have a garden yet, starting a garden journal is a great way to help you plan one. I found my first journal in a discount store when I was thinking about starting a garden and it became my catalyst and best friend. So, look around in the stores or check online for that perfect journal. There are also tons of templates you can print to design your own.
To get a good idea of what you need to do this year, it may be helpful to look at your garden as a series of sections. Take your garden journal and camera out and move from section to section to answer the following:
1. What seems to be coming back? What doesn’t?
- If something isn’t coming back, do you like it enough to replace it, or do you want to try something else?
- If you think something you don’t like might be coming back, take note to rip it out before it does.
2. What works for you? What doesn’t? How can you change it if it doesn’t?
3. Does anything need to be moved?
- Are there tall plants in front of short plants?
- Are there any plants that are just plain too big?
- Is there anything that is multiplying more than bunnies?
4. Where could you put some new plants you’ve been eyeing?
5. Are there any bulbs planted that you can’t see now?
- Make sure to note these so that you don’t go digging there too soon.
6. Is there a theme to your garden?
- If not, do you want it to have one? Tropical? English cottage? Contemporary? Country? Xeriscape? Color? Native plants? Flowers? Just interesting foliage?
Make sure to take pictures as you go along to note how things look now. It’s nice to compare photos over the seasons and years to see how things evolve.
You’re responses to these questions can now become a handy little checklist to guide you in your shopping and garden work for the year. Check things off as you complete them and see how your garden comes together with a little help from journaling.
On the Grow is a garden coaching service launched by Janice Brown to teach people how to be successful gardeners in the sometimes difficult, Gulf Coast climate. On the Grow provides garden education for the home gardener, children in outdoor classrooms, neighbors in community gardens, and employees in workplace gardens. Whether you want a new idea for a girls’ night out, a new way to engage children in nature, or want to implement a fresh wellness program in your company, On the Grow is here for you. Your coach will take you step by step teaching you the basics, while presenting you with a fresh perspective by helping you experience the healing benefits of gardening. Our mission at On the Grow is to help everyone experience the joy of a garden and build a greater connection to Mother Earth. Connect with One The Grow on Facebook and Twitter!