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Keeping Garden Records

November 2, 2016

In the first year of this blog, I wrote a post about my strategies for keeping garden records. (See Keeping a Garden Record.) Many gardeners commented about their own garden record-keeping, and their responses led me to amend and improve my own records.  This post has remained popular, and I have sometimes gotten requests from gardeners to share a template for my garden record spreadsheet.

This year, I am following up on that earlier post by doing some research on garden record-keeping. The first step is a survey of gardeners about their own record-keeping strategies. This will be followed by some interviews which will help me develop some case studies of different styles of garden records.  This research will form the basis of a talk on garden records that I will give at next year’s McLaughlin Garden Winter Lecture Series. I am also planning to identify some on-line resources and templates for garden record-keeping, which I will share in a follow-up post.

As many of us in the northern hemisphere are doing fall clean-up in our gardens and as many in the southern hemisphere are beginning a new garden season, I would appreciate your taking a few minutes to tell me about your garden record-keeping strategies. If you keep garden records, I would love to have your responses to my brief survey. You can access the survey (via Survey Monkey) by clicking here.

Thanks for your help.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2016 9:48 pm

    Great project, Jean… very interesting and enterprising.

    • November 7, 2016 7:48 pm

      Thanks, Pat. I’ve had this on the drawing boards for a while, so it feels good to finally have the project launched.

  2. November 3, 2016 8:30 am

    Ha. My garden record is just an old-fashioned book where I write down planting, germination, harvest and frost dates, with notes on varieties and various other things that seem worth recording. I probably should come into the twenty-first century with spreadsheets and computer diagrams–I’m sure it would be hugely helpful. But I love my garden book and don’t see giving it up.

    • November 7, 2016 7:50 pm

      Brenda, Your garden journal approach may be more common than you imagine. Of the responses I’ve gotten so far, handwritten-only records are the most common, followed closely by a mixture of handwritten and computer records, with computer-only records a distant third. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll consider responding to my survey. The handwritten garden book is one of the models of record-keeping I hope to present in my talk next spring.

      • November 8, 2016 12:40 pm

        Interesting. I would have predicted a higher number of computer-only people. I did take your survey and am looking forward to hearing all about your findings.

  3. November 3, 2016 11:24 am

    Have done your survey. Await the results!

  4. November 3, 2016 5:46 pm

    Just answered your survey — and this is another reason why I enjoy your work. You are a born educator and gardener. Looking forward to learning what you discover!

    • November 7, 2016 7:52 pm

      Thanks, Kevin. I’m looking forward to seeing the results, too. When I taught research methods to undergraduates, they were always surprised by my claim that data analysis is the most exciting part of the research process.

  5. November 3, 2016 6:43 pm

    Survey completed!

  6. November 4, 2016 5:35 pm

    one more.

    Looking forward to your future posts.
    I so much enjoyed your research on Blotanical.

    • November 7, 2016 7:53 pm

      Thanks, Diana. Every response helps. Just five days in, I am already more than a third of the way to my goal of 100 responses.

      • November 8, 2016 2:51 pm

        I do still have the book records for the first two gardens – but it is SO much easier to tell the computer to search my blog for That Plant, instead of paging back and forth.

  7. November 8, 2016 5:35 pm

    survey complete. I find my blog is a great way to track what’s going on in the garden. I can see plants thrive or decline. It’s been fun. Also it’s fun to look back at old posts. I am too scatter-brained for formal records. I wish I had your organizational talents, and yes it is a talent!

    • November 15, 2016 6:27 pm

      Hoover, Thanks for completing the survey — and for turning my borderline OCD tendencies into a talent 🙂 .

  8. November 27, 2016 6:37 am

    Hello Jean, my “record” is my blog. In that sense it is much more informal and loser compared to keeping lists, plans and spreadsheets. Somehow I feel that if I were to “formalise” my planning more, the fun would be taken out of gardening and the “fancy-free” aspect of the planting (like having ornamental ginger next to Japanese Acer,) would be lost.

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