Marcel Proust once wrote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” A garden journal can be the “new eyes” for the novice as well as the seasoned gardener.
Formal or casual, a journal is a reference tool. It can be used in myriad ways and function as: a means for planning and reflecting, as a memory book, showcase or diary, an informational text, or even created as a web blog. In My Texas Garden, a Gardener’s Journal, Dale Groom writes that you can use a journal to track the evolution of the garden as well as the gardener. Through diligent record-keeping, you can track your garden’s growth and your personal growth as a gardener: successes and failures, preferences in plants and seasons, the impact of the weather, environmental conditions in your garden.
In its most basic form, a garden journal tracks daily or weekly observations, the weather that day, what’s been planted and/or transplanted, any other garden notes. Make notes for planting dates for seeds and plants, planting information (spacing, germination, thinning, blooming and harvest dates), suppliers and sources, and cost information for seeds and plants, fertilizing dates and types, soil conditions and types, light and exposure, pests and diseases/problems and solutions, weather information (rainfall, temperatures, frost dates), wildlife observations.
A garden plan drawn on graph paper with ¼ inch grids uses a 1inch=4 feet proportion. Include photos from different times of day and seasons, sketches and diagrams. All of these are important for the garden in its present state as well as for future plans.