Garden Gear - Accessories

The benefits of keeping a garden journal

Mary Fran McQuade

Track your gardening successes and failures, bloom progress, wish lists and more by recording everything in one handy place

Ready-made journals
Beginners might want to get started by using a ready-made, printed journal. This can be as simple as a pretty page-a-week desk diary, with beautiful pictures that give you an incentive to open it up and write.

Or, you could use a nicely bound hardcover journal, like My Garden: A Five-Year Journal, by Mimi Luebbermann. Recently published, this little book has plenty of pages with prompts like “Lessons Learned” and “Special Pleasures,” organized in seasonal sections. Checklists and tips on things like staking plants are scattered throughout.

If you’re into gardening big-time, there’s the massive, 544-page A Gardener's Journal from Lee Valley Tools. It includes a page a day, divided into 10 sections to cover a decade of gardening, as well as articles on gardening techniques. Still more pages have space for notes on your perennials, veggie harvests, garden diagrams and more.

Moleskine has added a gardening journal to their Passions collection. Tabbed sections keep you organized and a handy template feature allows you to go online and download extra pages if you run out. A handy inner pocket allows you to keep receipts and tags in one place.

The do-it-yourself journal
You may prefer to set up your own form of gardening journal that suits your own personal style. Build your book using materials like:

  • A ring binder
  • Tabbed dividers
  • Blank pages for notes and sketches
  • Graph paper for drawing plans
  • Pages for photos of your garden
  • Pocket pages to hold plant labels, magazine clippings, seed packets and maybe quick scrap paper jottings

You can also go online and download simple, pre-printed pages from gardening websites like This Garden Journal.

The modern option
Many tech-savvy gardeners set up a spreadsheet as their garden journal. A bit fiddly, perhaps, but a good way to record and find information about your garden. Enter as many details as you can handle—plant name, location, colour, year planted—and you can search by any of them.

Another high-tech option is to create a garden blog (short for “web blog”) as a garden diary. You can post photos, notes, musings, links to interesting websites and so on. Adding subject headings and tags to your entries will help you look up the things you’ve written about.

Whether you’re a keyboard demon, an elegant diarist or a pad-and-pencil person, keeping a garden journal could turn out to be as satisfying as your garden itself.

(Middle journal image courtesy of Lee Valley Tools)


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