Garden journals.


Although I’m still waiting on a super late bulb order that I hope makes it to me before the ground is so frozen I can no longer dig, I’ve pretty much packed in the gardens for the year. (The snow has certainly helped to expedite my work). Before things get too busy and I forget, I made a bunch of notes in my garden journal – a list of things I want to accomplish next year, plants I want to either avoid or repeat, doodles of potential layouts for my raised veggie bed, etc..  Prior to this year, I had a gorgeous 10-year bound paper garden journal that my parents had given to me, but I stretched it out beyond ten years and it is so crammed with notes and lists of plants that I no longer have any room to write more.  For 2016, I’ve been using a Word document and writing dates, tasks, and notes – but it’s not as refined as I would like (or as lovely as that paper journal).  One tweak I will make right away is to keep a separate list of the plants I added this year – just so they don’t get lost in the notes when I want to quickly refer to the cultivar name that I’m struggling to recall.  I am waffling on the creation of a map, however – I used to make little crude, not-to-scale-but-sufficient-for-my-purposes diagrams of my flowerbeds but I haven’t done so over the past couple of years. Recently, I have performed quite a few changes to the beds (and intend to make more), so a map might be useful.

How about you?  Do you keep a garden journal, and if so, what format do you prefer?  What types of information do you keep track of? Do you include diagrams and maps of your gardens?  Do you save plant labels, seed packages, and other information about the plants you grow?  Have you ever moved onto a property where the previous homeowners kindly left you with a record of the plants in the garden?


  1. None of your questions is relevant to me, except to the degree that I have begun writing down where and when I come across particularly favorite native plants. I suppose that is a journal, too — albeit for a different kind of garden.

    Your photo’s so fine. I love white flowers, and this certainly takes whiteness to a new level.

  2. I’m still relatively new at gardening and don’t spend as much time doing it as I’d like, but I did try to keep a journal at first, and intend to get back to it. I love keeping journals of all sorts. I also love the idea for this post!

  3. Wow, early snow. Hope it was only a little taster and you get some nice autumn days too. I keep packets and labels in an old shoebox, with no system whatsoever! I also have a notebook, but forget to keep it up to date, so rely on invoices from the online nurseries/bulb and seed suppliers for reference. It’s about time someone created a nice software package or app for gardeners to keep their notes and draw plans! 😉

  4. Is this really your garden ATM??? I am happy to be finally needing a little sweater for my morning walk!!! I used to keep journals and the like for our former gardens, which I all started from scratch and I had veggie plots, wild flowers garden, woodland and the like. ( we moved a lot) This garden was already established and is a smaller city garden with a little wilderness in the back. I do not keep track anymore apart from plants that suffer from mildew…they get removed right away and replaced by natural resisted native plants. Bulbs are of no use to me alas…squirrels and deer ;o)

  5. I don’t keep notes, but I do keep receipts and seed packets. And I do make maps of my raised beds so I remember not to plant things like tomatoes in the same place they were the previous year. I’ve never moved into a place with an established garden, so no one has ever left me any records of established plants. However, the house I lived in for 10 years was the beneficiary of a complete garden overhaul by me, and I did leave maps and information for the next owners. I don’t know if they paid any attention to them though. My old neighbors seemed to think only that the new residents were somewhat befuddled by all of it…

  6. I keep labels and receipts to remind me of what I bought and photograph plants in the beds to remind me where I put things. I was given a lovely paper journal a few years ago but haven’t started using it yet. Thanks for the reminder – I will start to use it in the new year I think.

  7. It’s so hard for me to imagine you have snow already. I once had gotten a book that you could record year by year, month by month, day by day. Meaning one page would have your notes from each year. So if you went to April 15th..all of your notes for April 15th was written for each year. Does that make sense?

    I wasn’t good with keeping up with it. I found that so many plants died, got pulled, bulbs eaten by who knows what that even if I had made a map, it would have to be revised all of the time. Good luck!

  8. It is a problem keeping track of plants. I used to put labels on all the plants but now I now only do clematis and shrubs as the other labels were soon lost. I do keep a planting list for each of the borders in the garden. Snow is something I do not have to worry about as we rarely ever have snow. My bulb list was covered on a recent blog
    These arrived in October but I do not plant tulips until November so I have a big box of tulips sitting waiting. I suppose if you really wanted locations for plants you could use GPS coordinates but I feel that would be “over the top”.

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