I have actually written several times about the importance of keeping a gardening journal before we begin to make modifications to our gardens. And while it would appear January is the very best time to start a journal to get into the practice of keeping one, at any time is a good time to start. And completion of the gardening season might be the very best time of all.
“Why?” you ask. Fall is the time when plants begin to fold shop for the winter season, however it can also be a time of reflection as to what worked and what didn’t operate in the Spring and Summer. For instance, what slug baits worked best for you? For me it was the coffee premises I would spread around susceptible plants all season.But other concerns popped to mind as I was cleaning up the hostas. Were there any plants that failed this year? My response to that would be yes because several of my older hosta seemed to be stressed out and not doing well. When I looked further, I discovered it was due to the fact that their roots had been weakened by chipmunks. That will be something I need to attend to next year for sure.I had the very same problem with my Rhododendron ‘Nancy Evans,”one of my all-time favorite shrubs. The leaves started to brown and curl and upon inspection, the chipmunks had dug tunnels all around the base of the rhodie, too. No amount of fertilizer would assist there, although perhaps it would be worse if I had not fertilized. A healthy plant is more likely to weather any problems.My dahlias were a big disappointment this year. I had gorgeous plants but not a single bud to be seen.
When I evaluated my journal from last fall, I understood I had not raised and saved those bulbs as I normally do. So maybe that, plus a rainy, cool Spring, was the concern. This year I will raise those tubers and do what I constantly used to do and keep them for the winter. I will keep in mind the day I do that in the journal as well.And of course, the long, dry spell didn’t help anything either. I made note of that in my journal.
We had not had any quantifiable rain because the middle of June, so when we did get a good rain at the end of September, I was sure to keep in mind that and consist of simply how much rain we got. Keeping track of rains is an outstanding use of a journal. When we recall over numerous years of journaling, we might have the ability to see a pattern and change our plantings accordingly.I do not restrict myself to what took place in the past, however. I also make notes on what I want to change next growing season along with what worked well and I want to do again. Those coffee grounds to keep slugs at bay will certainly be kept in mind. And I require to include the ranges of annuals I bought this year that were spectacular, even in a drought. I will search for those again next Spring.I put a stunning orange tuberous begonia in a large pot this year. It was very quite in the huge pot however some of its beauty was lost from having to be viewed on the ground. But next year, that same begonia is going into a hanging basket where it’s dangling flowers can be much better seen and delighted in. But if I do not make notes about it now, I may not remember what I had prepared when April, 2023 rolls around.I have mentioned before in columns that I keep my journal as a Word file on my computer system because I like being able to include photos to highlight the modifications. However there are elegant, leather-bound journals that can be discovered in great bookstores along with lesser-priced versions. Some people prefer a simple school notebook they can take into the garden with them to make notes. That works, too, as does a sketch pad for those gardeners who are likewise creative and prefer drawings to images. In any case, even simply a few words put next to an illustration or picture will advise you of why it was consisted of in your journal.I do motivate you to discover the kind of journal you like, whatever form it might take. You require one that will inspire you to keep present with your notes. For that is the most fundamental part of any kind of journal: filling it with details.