Joy Magazine

Garden Journaling

Ah, the joys of the garden in summer! Everything you planted a few months or more ago is starting to bloom or fruit. The vegetables are kicking in. Color and fragrance are all around. You wish that summer in the garden—your garden—could last all year long. And it can, if you start keeping a garden journal or scrapbook now.

Consider Candice Peyton. She swears by her garden journal because she couldn't tend to the four acres of garden she and her husband have near Emigrant Lake without it. After over 14 years of writing about what goes on in her garden, Candice knows when to expect which plants will bloom, where particulars bulbs and perennials are located (along with their colors), even the wildlife that come and go—and what time of year they do.

"I always write down when I see the first goldfinch, and if there's a change in the number of squirrels, foxes, and skunks," she says, adding that over the years, she sees a balance in the number of certain wildlife in her garden. "For example, some years we have more squirrels than others, as they are hunted by owls," Candice adds.

But you don't have to have four acres or a big yard to write about what grows in your garden. In fact, you don't have to have any garden at all. The Rogue Valley is filled with both public parks and gardens and a huge variety of private gardens throughout many neighborhoods for you to enjoy and write about.

Take a drive through a different part of town for you and when some garden catches your eye, make notes about what got your attention. Was it the masses of old rose bushes, a rock garden, or the clever use of garden art? If possible, take a few non-invasive photos for a scrapbook. Or if you're so gifted, make a few sketches of what you see. Remember that what you write is not for publication, but for your pleasure, both for now and later in the year.

Garden writing can also be helpful if you're stumped about what to put in your garden and want to call in a professional. Tracy Goodrich, owner of South Trace Design in Ashland, has worked in the Rogue Valley for over five years and encourages her clients to do some writing before meeting with them. "When clients don't know what they really want, I encourage them to keep a Vision Journal of colors, shapes, and basic design styles they like—or dislike," Goodrich explains. "A garden is a reflection of our personalities and lifestyles, and writing about those things can really help determine what plants, lighting, and hardscape would be the best fit for them," she adds.

However you decide to write (or keep a scrapbook with photos and drawings) about gardening, remember that you're doing it for you, not for publication in a garden magazine. Write about your loves and pleasures in the garden; write about what worked—or didn't work. Come wintertime, you can relax, get out your garden journal, read about what did and didn't work, and start thinking and dreaming about what you'd like to do in the garden next year. It will be here before you know it!

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