Garden Journaling| Lessons Learned

The concept of journaling and project books has been around for years. I never organized myself around that concept, and now I see the errors of my ways, as they say. It is mid-summr now and a good time to update garden projects.

Front Lamppost Garden

Today I will give you a tour of my front post garden.
From the photo, you can see two knockout roses on one side with a Hosta in front. The other side by the drive has a rock, added for interest, a small weigela bush, and a dwarf laceleaf red maple.

In the center, I have daffodils planted in front of the post, purple clematis directly behind the lampost. I use the post to drape the vine. I was gorgeous this year. Coming toward the house, a green grass. Next, a red sedum and finally a yellow day lily brings you to the sidewalk.

This garden is my smallest. Flawed research made it one of the first gardens to require new plants because I didn’t use the correct plant in the space. I am pretty happy with this garden as it stands today. I replaced a knock out rose this spring due to winter kill.

Mistakes Made

Not enough plantings.
I’m not too fond of weeds and dislike weeding. So for me, a dense and unstructured garden is the best. You might prefer a more manicured and organized garden, and that is fine. In fact, a structured garden is favored by most.
Most good gardeners make a plan and organize their gardens by size, rows, colors, etc. A manicured lawn and garden are beautiful to behold but are not likely compatible with my approach, attitude, and attitude.

Failure to research and plan
I planted forget- me- nots, pretty little blue flower. They died. They are usually a prolific perineal- almost a weed. It took two years before I gave up on them. Research showed they could not tolerate full hot sun. Ohio now had sweltering summers. I replaced them with daffidils. One of the few bulbs that chipmonkks don’t eat. We have alot of chipmonks

I had an azalea where the weigela is now. I learned an azalea likes full to partial shade. I must say that plant did survive a few good years but finally succumbed to an infestation of a pest. The poor thing was probably weakened by the constant sun.

Finally and biggest mistake; the JapaneseJapanese maple.

Maybe not the biggest, but definitely the most costly. Initially, I had another dwarf weeping laceleaf out there, but it did not get very thick, and the leaves would dry up and up and burn in July and August. The local garden center told me that variety could not tolerate summer sun. ( sorry, I can’t tell you the name) I didn’t keep the tag. Who knew! told
Thankfully, it survived. Those little dwarf trees cost a small fortune. I did move it to a shady part in the front garden, and it’s doing fantastic.

The variety planted in the lampost in the garden is likely Hana Matoi, and it does well in full sun. NO burnt leaves as it’s growing very well.

Not having a garden folder or journal.

If I had kept a journal plant book and wrote down the flowers and locations, I would likely have had a source to rely upon to look up at least the basic care of a plant going wonky. Perhaps, I could have made corrections in time to save the plant or move it and give it another chance.

Today, I went online, did a search on Amazon, and found many garden planners and journals available. Here is one garden site. Some of the planner sites have free printable. Garden and flower blogs also have kits available with graph paper to grid out the dimension of your planting, etc. Some
There is also elaborate software available for the more serious-minded.

Lessons Learned

I have learned my lesson now. I had saved an email that had a set of printable to use in making a garden journal. Wait for it; I lost the link…typical. However, one can go online and search for a garden journal or get ideas on printables to make on your own.

I found a spiral notebook in the bookcase and decided to use that as a garden diary/planner.
As you can see, I have drawn the diagram of the front post garden and identified as best I could the different plants in this garden bed. If I had the plastic plant tags, I would glue them, each to a page. My primary research about the plant starts with the label. Here the name, sun, soil, and water conditions for the plant are listed for you. I plan to leave a page to update information on each plant. For example, the best time to fertilize, when & how to prune.
Lastly, I would include a monthly listing of what to do in the garden monthly. I can easily take that from one of the local nursery websites.- the one I use the most even has a weekly schedule.

I plan to divide my book into sections to keep information on each flower bed’s plantings. I have seven garden bed areas. In the front of the house, we have the lampost, the front, the side garden. There also is a shared area between the two townhouses. I rarely do anything in this garden. It is mainly filled with hostas. I did put an ornamental tree in the center that has fragrant flowers in the spring.


I cannot recommend enough doing this essential journaling. One can get as elaborate as one wishes. Right now, I have four or five different varieties of hydrangea in the various gardens. I don’t know when to prune, which when to fertilize, or which fertilizer I should use. There are other requirements for each type of hydrangea. It will be much easier to look in my journal for that info than doing a google search each time.

Right now I have a big problem with my full-sun bed. Most of my garden beds get the sun for a few hours daily. I only have a small strip in the back patio garden that gets sun all day. I planted hybrid- roses and peonies in that bed a few years ago. I had them in a bed in my other house, and they did very well.

Sadly, most of the tea roses died. I only have two left, and I will probably pull them. They just never thrived.

Last year, I thought it was too hot and not enough water. This year it has rained most of the summer, but we have had hot sunny days too. I know the summers here are pretty different from when I had my first garden. I had some Japanese beetles but no infestation of aphids, etc. I will think about regular rose bushes now- but first, some research.

Again, I did not keep any of the plant names, so I don’t know if I bought roses that prefer full or partial sun, but in my experience, most hybrid teas love full sun. The state of the rose garden saddens me.

Mid-summer is one of the best times to have a rethink about the garden. Fall gets busy again with transplanting, pruning, dividing. So I am starting anew now.

My friend Jean has a beautiful yellow vintage rose bush. I attempted to take cutting this spring. I put them in soil, but the rain was so continuous, they rotted. I recently tried another method. I put the cuttings in water, and they may be starting to grow roots!

I will share more as I make new pages for the different gardens. Maybe the front garden with the BOBO Hydrangeas next. I will start looking into printout to put in a binder type garden journal. I do like the ring featureof thisnotebook but I want one I can add paper to as the gardens evolve.

Do any of you guys keep a garden log? Any suggestions on what to put in the journal?

Leave a Comment