By Rachel Paxton
Have you ever thought about keeping a gardener's diary to record what you plant and where you plant it? Keeping a diary will help you plan next year's garden by recording which plants grew well and which ones didn't. You can also note which colors do or don't look good together, or which plants overwhelm one another. Keep a record of how long the sun shines in different areas of your yard so you can find plants that require the appropriate amount of sunlight. In our yard, the soil is not the same everywhere. We have made do by planting different kinds of plants in different types of soil.
We have a big patch of very sandy soil that turned out to be adequate to grow a good crop of zucchini and pumpkins last year, as long as we kept it well watered. Our tulips did really well last year. We have them scattered here and there throughout the yard, but their favorite place is in a very sandy shady spot next to the front porch. Those tulips were twice as big as the ones that got more sunshine. This year, however, we got a little warm weather in early spring and then a cold spell. The poor tulips never recovered from the cold and didn't bloom at all! One plant that doesn't seem to care where it is planted is our rhubarb. It has been moved from house to house several times, it has grown in different types of soil, and it has been watered inconsistently. I then cut it all off and it grows right back again! This plant seems impossible to harm.
We're experimenting with daisies this year. I wanted to add some more color to our yard. I planted them in different places and will watch to see where they do best.
I love looking at my yard and looking at all the different plants that people have given me. Who would have thought that plants could be keepsakes. You can make notes in your diary as to who gave you what plants and what meaning they have to you. Our rhubarb plant is the same one that we had at our home when I was a child, and my mom gave me some of the chrysanthemums that were given to me and planted in her yard when my daughter was born almost twelve years ago. Walking around the yard I see flowers from my aunt, rosemary from my husband's grandmother, and the young maple tree my daughter grew from a seed several years ago. There are many memories in our small surroundings. Planting seedlings from other people's gardens is also a great way to save money - plants are so expensive these days. Why pay for them at the store when you can get them for free? I also buy a lot of plants at the end of the season. A lot of stores have two-for-one sales and practically give away their leftover plants. Even a half wilted annual will perk right up when you give it a little tender-loving care. It will be back good as new next year.
Your diary can be as simple as a spiral notebook or as fancy as a bound diary you can buy at the store. If you are good at drawing, you can also make sketches of your plants in your diary. If you end up living in the same place for many years, your gardening diary can be a little piece of history for your family. Your family will cherish those memories for a lifetime.
Originally published at Suite 101.
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