Planning for New Growth – What’s Your “Thing”?

Are you blessed with flower beds and the opportunity to plant things & watch them grow? Spring in the Northeast US is such a beautiful time of year as the cold winter months fade away and the earth comes to life again. The beauty of Spring flowering trees is breath-taking. It is always fun to get out my garden journal and read through last year’s information while planning for new growth this year. I anticipate the welcome change in weather and getting back outside. Perhaps your interests are more along the line of museums, or concerts, or books. These thoughts can translate to most anything you find of great interest that you invest your time in.

Garden and flower bed journal

My garden journal is pretty simple where I keep one year’s information together with a few different categories. First is a list of the plants & herbs & veggies I purchase each Spring. Here in Lancaster County, PA there are some amazing greenhouses, most of which are run by Mennonite or Amish families. That first view of the beauty of the huge variety of plants & flowers after a long cold winter makes me wish I had ten more flower beds to fill – until I come back to reality.

Seasonal activities

And although the greenhouses are great, one of my most favorite things to do in Lancaster, is attend the Landis Valley Herb & Garden Faire each year. There is nothing like walking the grounds of this historic farm and going through all the old buildings. The Friday & Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend, the grounds are filled with vendor tents with anything garden-related that you can imagine. From annuals and perennials, to herbs and heirloom tomato plants, birdhouses, hypertufas, potting benches, fresh honey, and on and on. Whatever you want to adorn your flowers beds with will probably be available.

Purchases and schedule

The list of “Purchases” in my garden journal always includes some wonderful goodies from various greenhouses as well as Landis Valley’s Herb & Garden Faire. This list includes the name & color of the plant, price, quantity, and where I purchased them from.

The next category for the year is my record of outside work. I like to keep track of when I weed each bed, spread mulch, etc. It’s a great reminder for me in the dreary days of winter to look at that list and figure out how soon it will be time to be outside again!

Photos and sketches

I make little sketches if I change up a flower bed just so I can look back at the end of the summer and see if any plants didn’t make it. I also like to diagram my raised vegetable garden. Although it’s not large, my plant markers often don’t make it through the summer. I can look at the sketch to see which tomatoes produced better than the others. I usually buy an a variety of tomato plants from the high school 4H club that has a stand at the Garden Faire every year.

Also, it’s fun to include photos of the beds right after I’ve planted & mulched them. And then I take photos again later in the summer when everything has grown and is in full bloom. It’s such a nice pick-me-up in the middle of winter to pull out my journal and thumb through the pages. Those sketches and photos of beautiful colors get me to start thinking about planning for new growth in next year’s flower beds.

Lastly, I have a category for “notes to self” of things to do for the next year. If a certain plant or flower isn’t as exciting as anticipated or if I have an idea of something different to add to a bed. And of course, on those inevitable rainy days of summer, it’s great fun to add beautiful washi tape, gardening sayings & quotes to my journal.

Colorful memories

I started a garden journal in the Spring of 2011 and I enjoy looking back at different things I’ve tried over the years. We’ve lived at our house for 30 years now, and for pretty much the first ten years we added a new flower bed each year. Well, that finally caught up to me in the past ten years or so, with having a retail store. Needless to say, the flower beds have gotten a bit overgrown and out of control. They certainly haven’t received as much attention from me as they did in the early years. In all reality, I should probably tear everything out and start over, but time will tell if that is realistic or not.

For the moment there will be no new sketches in my garden journal, but hopefully that will come in due time. I need to work on each bed a little at a time to gain control again and hopefully appease my neighbors who have been ever so patient. Once the weeds are pulled and the flower beds are a bit happier, then perhaps I will consider purging and renovating each bed one at a time.

So how about you – do you enjoy planning for new growth each Spring in your garden? If so, I hope you will consider keeping a journal of all your flower & garden dreams, purchases, sayings, photos, etc. It will be a wonderful reference for you throughout the years as you add beauty to your corner of the world. Or, perhaps your interest is going to museums, or concerts, or growing a collection of something that’s special to you. If there’s something you enjoy year after year, why not consider keeping the details of each occurrence in one special journal?

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