Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bouquet of Bloom....Tags

This is my organizational system for whats in the garden.

Not every plant in the garden has a bloom tag. Some have been lost; but this represents the sum total of my garden journal or log.

Over the years I have tried to journal, but it doesn't take. Or, I don't take to it. When it comes to the history of my garden, I rely a great deal upon my memory. Sometimes that fails!
So, I have begun to take photos. Lots and lots of photos. There is one problem...I haven't organized them yet! They are all in my iphoto program.

I have great admiration for gardeners who keep journals. Please know, I am truly awed by the breadth and depth of your writing. It's inspiring and deeply appreciated.

Will I ever be a journal writer? Or have a log? Probably not. Maybe I haven't found a system that works for me or encourages me to work it. It might be that it's not my nature or my inclination. Until I find a system that makes sense for me...I will continue to collect Bloom Tag Bouquets.

But tell, I really want to know. What do you do to keep track of important garden information? Do you journal? Do you jot down notes in a blank book? Or a computer program?

What works for you?

Gail

38 comments:

  1. It is a nice bouquet indeed! No watering required. I compiled all my labels alphabetically by latin names in a big binder. I don't keep up with it, sigh. But I did log the names down on an Excel spreadsheet which I am FINALLY keeping up with. I tried the journal thing once, the computer dumped it. I haven't begun another one. I should though.

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  2. Tina,

    Journals and logs are wonderful but I haven't ever been able to follow through...I do admire those who can write beautifully and keep a log.

    The binder might work.


    gail

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  3. Me: "I don't need to write this down. I'll remember this."

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  4. I use those composition notebooks we used to use in school. I jot down the information from the tag--and if I have time I might look up some additional info online--then I tape either the plant tag (if it has a picture of the plant or if not a picture I print out from the internet)on the opposite page. So far I am not putting anything in any kind of order. I realize this will have to change in the future but right now this works for me.

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  5. I have a similiar bouquet of labels., LOL . I sometimes keep them and sometimes they get lost. I sometimes log in a binder and tape the tag and sometimes not. I just can't get motivated for it. I would rather be out digging.

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  6. Hi Gail, When we first moved to this house, I kept excellent records, with seperate sheets for each type of plant, trees, shrubs, bulbs, perennials, grasses. It was good for a couple of years, then more and more was added, some things died, I got behind on it, but still have it. Then I started keeping the tags, like you. But there got to be too many, again, things died, some had no tags. I started writing in a journal whenever something new was purchased, underlining the name so I could scan the looseleaf sheets to find a name. Then came the blog. No more writing in the journal, new stuff purchased, not written down. This will come back to haunt me, it does already. There must be a better way?

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  7. I like your bouquet. I have one just like it. What I've been doing is find a photo with info--print it out & put it in a clear sleeve that fits a 3 ring note book. I also have another book of plants that I would LIKE to have. This way if I have one that doesn't make it here I have info of something else to try.

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  8. I was going to commend you on a great way to store those tags, then you had to get all self-deprecating. (My tags are an organizing nightmare.) Good thing I write everything down in my handy-dandy 10-year gardening journal. I'm on my 2d. It has allowed me to keep track of all the plants I've killed.

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  9. Your bouquets look much tidier than mine--right now they're sitting in a stack of empty pots on the back porch.
    I did start a journal this year, but I haven't been very good at keeping up with it all the time. Mine is nothing fancy--a spiral notebook where I jot down notes, and then I do have a three-ring binder with pockets for articles and photos cut out of magazines and for all those tags eventually. We'll see how well this works, but anything is better than nothing.
    I realized I had to do something when I couldn't remember this spring whether my clematis was a I, II, or III to know how to prune it!

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  10. bill,

    and are you able to remember? I usually can, sometimes I need a prompt or two!! I am thinking a photo or two of the plant will help....hm, maybe with the label!

    Gail

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  11. Lisa,

    The system you use sounds exactly like the one i use for some of my favorite recipes...I take the recipe, usually ripped out from the magazine, put it in a plastic sleeve, then into a 3 ring binder but never in order! I always plan to put it in order....someday.

    Gail

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  12. karen,

    Exactly...but in my case it's have a strong Play Ethic! Filing is work!

    Gail

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  13. I keep a spreadsheet too, with about 12 columns. I like the spreadsheet because I can click on the category headings and easily reorder the plants by month of bloom, height, colour, etc. I like to quantify everything and find it very useful.

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  14. Frances,

    I have no idea what the better way is, but blogging and gardening and occasionally working means there isn't time for writing a log.
    Do you feel like your blog is a log?

    Gail

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  15. Your bouquet is pretty cool, Gail!

    Once upon a time, starting about 20 years and 3 houses ago, I kept a series of paper journals with lists and drawings and weather notes. They were sometimes detailed, but because gardening slows in a Northern winter, whole months sometimes were missing.

    Then I started blogging. For the past couple of years the paper journal gets infrequent entries although I do stick tags and receipts between the pages.

    Like Tina, I have an Excel spreadsheet - and update it occasionally. Staring at the receipts and tags helps with this.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  16. lola, Sorry to you, I mixed up your response with Lisa...I am on the road using my husbands tiny laptop and I do apologize...Lisa, sorry, too.

    Traveling is hard on blogging!

    Gail

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  17. MMD,

    Speaking of self deprecating! You are much funnier at it than me!

    I think that the tags are a pretty incredible history of plant buying for me! Sometimes I have the tags of fallen plant comrades...I prefer to think of the yard doing them in than me! I believe denial is essential to a gardner...Don't laugh but I do give them a sponge bath before they go in the cup!

    So second one in two years...are they huge!

    Gail

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  18. Rose,

    Mine frequently reside in pots until I see them, oh a few times laying on the ground or in an empty pot, and then I bring them in and sponge them off for the bouquet cup!

    Often the dirty label comes in off the new plant and sits with me as I do an internet search for more info...my keyboard is really grubby with plant dirt!

    I think I may be revealing way to much of my right brain behaviors!

    Yes, it helps with stuff like pruning to have a record!

    Gail

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  19. northern shade,

    Wow, is it complicated? Was it an existing program or do you have to label the columns? Just filling something in might not be bad, having to set it up...don't know about that!!! I am being serious, are there excell spread sheets for gardening in existence?

    Gail

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  20. Annie,

    Do you like the Excell program? I may see what they are about...but I do like my bloom tag bouquets....they are a pain to go through to find a tag but garner laughs when friends she them!

    Thanks,

    Gail

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  21. Everyone,

    Thanks for responding, it is fascinating how we all keep track of our plants...some (you know who you are) better than others (me).

    I am at my Mom's memorial celebration...and it is indeed a celebration. Her 83 birthday was on Wednesday, so we will have cake and tell good stories about her!


    Hoping you all have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend.

    Gail

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  22. I, the most unorganized person on the planet, actually bought a journal this year (here on Amazon) because I was sick of not knowing when the carrots were ready to harvest. :) So between the journal and my garden blog, I am flat Keeping Track this year. Highly recommend the journal.

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  23. I don't really journal either. I do have some pictures though. I like to pretend to be organized, but I'm not.

    I keep all of my labels, but they don't look as pretty as yours do!

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  24. Stacy,

    Your photos are spectacular...is there a way to comment on your blog.

    Gail

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  25. cinj,

    How are you...is school out now? Just in time for spring and gardening!

    About your labels, a few cups and you too can have a Bouquet of blookms!

    Gail

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  26. Tags in pots - that's a good way to keep track of what's in your garden!
    I have organized my garden through a homepage. It works for me - but it's taken several hours, I can tell you...
    /Katarina

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  27. Katarina,

    I think the time it takes to organize is a factor in why I have a bouquet of Bloom Tags! Your Peony is gorgeous!

    Gail

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  28. Kids still have 6 days of school left. I sure hope to get a bunch of stuff done before they're out of school though. It's finally getting nice around here.

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  29. >>Your photos are spectacular...is there a way to comment on your blog.

    Hi Gail, thanks! Sure there's a comments link under the top main picture.

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  30. cinj,

    You're going to have a great time!
    I know it!


    Gail

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  31. Stacy,

    Thanks, how I missed it is a mystery!

    Gail

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  32. Gail: Who has time for a journal what with blogging and gardening and working and the house is in need of cleaning and the dog needs a walk ...yadda, yadda, yadda! Just like you! That is just the way it is. No apologies, no recriminations. Works for me.

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  33. Great post, Gail. Great questions and very interesting comments.
    I have a bouquet of tags that looks very similar to yours. Only mine is in an old used clay pot. It sits right next to my bin of gloves on a gardening shelf in the garage. I keep one of each plant I buy. I really think it comes in handy on occasion for reference IF I forget the habits of a plant needs while I’m getting used to that particular plant. I do throw away the tags periodically of plants I no longer have in my garden.

    I must admit I’m a cataloging nerd. I take hundreds of photos each month. Photo journaling makes life in the garden very easy to remember what is where and when it was planted. I file all my garden photos by year and then by month. If you do this as you take them it is easy to keep track. It is also a sure way not to lose track of what is going on and when. A daily record of what’s going on in the garden I keep in a Word document by date. I tried doing this by hand in a cute spiral journal with pretty gardening pictures on the front but writing I found to be a burden. Typing is so much more efficient, for me. I import photos into the Word document often which gives me loads of help in ‘picturing’ what I’m referencing. The journal’s purpose is to compare what actually happens IN THE GARDEN from day to day and year to year.

    Now I keep an Excel spread sheet of facts for the veggie garden. What was planted. When it was planted. Where I bought the seed. When harvest date is expected. When harvest date actually occurred. Notes on each variety of plant. It is easy to sort and re-sort according to date or variety or seed company or whatever.
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

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  34. Gail, The bouquets are nice! But if they don't do it for you, here are a couple suggestions:

    I have an old fashioned Daytimer, with lines, in which I write the things I did today. With accompanying notes, sometimes. But mostly it's just a terse list of what I did. (Cut hedge, planted basil, that sort of stuff.) You could use any notebook with lines for same. I log lots other stuff too, but it's usually just a few words, scribbled while I wait for the tea to boil or food to cook or whatever. I keep it on the kitchen counter.

    Later when I look at it, I may actually REMEMBER what I did sometimes, and can elaborate in my real journal later if I want.

    Plant tags: I went down to Sewannee, TN recently and saw the garden at St. Andrew's School. They have done this INCREDIBLY cute thing where they made gorgeous plant tags from popsicle sticks. They paint the stick a color (you could color-code!), let it dry, and then letter the plant name on the stick. For some, they use 2 sticks, like a cross, with the plant name on the cross beam. Lots of extra work, but very decorative and lovely when they put these colorful tags next to the plants. (Some had further decoration on the tags--little painted vines, blossoms etc--where the painter really got into it.)
    I'm not arty enough to do this, but it looked like great fun.

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  35. meems,

    There is nothing nerdy about you! What photo program are you using? I keep wondering if I ought to actually log onto picasa and use it. Does it have a good system to file and folder photos. I think iphoto is adequate not wonderful! It may be time for me to get some real help, like Kathy (Cold Climate Gardening) offers!
    I am shooting more photos and right now family events help me date them.

    I am going to open Excel and check it out!

    Thank you for your thoughts and help...it is greatly appreciated and every little bit of information helps me.

    Gail

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  36. mh,

    Hey there...glad you stoppeb by...I did visit the new Tennessee blogger and am going to give her a shout out to everyone and a link to her blog.

    The Daytimer isn't a bad idea, especially with an excel program addendwhere the real detail would be recorded. For most of us...there are dozens maybe several dozen new blooming goodies everyday!

    I will give you a call...

    Gail

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  37. Gail, I am late to this party, but I have a big bulletin board hung up in my garage and pinned all the plants tags on it, but I've run out of room. I also have a 10 year garden journal with notes going back to 2001. I still write in it, even with the blog.

    My new summer project is to catalog my garden and put all the tags of the still living plants in a looseleaf note book with notes, divided by garden location (front, sides, back, etc.) Wish me luck!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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