Garden Journals
by Andrea Dorn - posted 12/29/13

Do you keep a journal? What about a gardening journal? If not, now is the perfect time to start. Use any type of notebook or even an actual journal. Or you can go straight to your computer or e-notebook (or pad or whatever you call them). If you’re crafty you might even make your own journal.

Look back at this past year. Record any perennials you added to your yard and their location (maybe even when you planted it if you remember). If you want to be even more detailed you can record what medium you added, where purchased, how often you watered or fed it, etc. Did you plant any trees or bushes this year? Record the same information for them also. You’ll want to record any information you recall about lawn treatments or reseeding you’ve done.


Journals are also good for keeping track of your successes and failures with annuals, vegetables and fruits. What grew or didn’t grow, what environment in your yard worked better, how well did the plants produce and was the produce good? This means flowers and herbs as well as edibles. A three-ring binder is good for storing receipts, plant labels and seed packets for future reference.


Even more important are your thoughts and feelings about gardening. Sure it is helpful to record the facts, but let’s also record how those facts affect you. Maybe you look at gardening and yardwork as a chore. Once you begin to journal force yourself to record at least one non-chore observation each day or week.

Perhaps it is the sweet smell of freshly mowed grass or the spring scent of lilacs greeting you at the back door. Maybe you saw an unusual butterfly wafting around the Rudbeckia or even a honeybee (we know how rare they are now).  Eventually you’ll find yourself writing down more profound thoughts about the world in general. We all know you have it in you!



I’ve been an Iowa State University Extension Master Gardener and member of the Story County Master Gardener Association since 2001. My favorite club activity is our annual Plant Sale on Mother’s Day weekend. I enjoy visiting with gardeners and helping them decide what plants would work best in their yards and their plan.

As a child I helped out with the family garden every summer reaping the fruits of my labor with joy. I also remember slipping away during visits to my grandfather’s farm to liberate some of his raspberries. However, gardening is more than just planting a flower, fruit or vegetable garden. We are conservators of the land and have a responsibility to protect the environment with a thoughtful plan for the land we manage.