Garden Journaling

Gardening is not only a hobby but an opportunity to learn new things, connect with nature and grow as a person (of course gardening is more than just growing plants!). Whether you're a experienced gardener or just starting out, keeping a garden journal can significantly enhance your gardening experience. It serves as more than just a record of what you've planted; it becomes a valuable tool for learning, planning, and preserving the memories of your garden and how its evolved and changed over the years

Garden Journaling By samiramay AdobeStock
Garden journaling can help a gardener learn and grow (1)

Benefits of Garden Journaling

Tracking Progress and Success

A garden journal allows you to document your gardening journey comprehensively. You can record when and where you planted each crop or flower, which varieties you chose, and any particular methods or techniques you employed. This tracking helps you understand what works best in your specific environment and soil conditions. Over time, you'll have a clear record of which plants thrived and which struggled, enabling you to make more informed decisions for the future.

Learning from Mistakes

Gardening is as much about learning from failures as it is about celebrating successes. A journal helps you pinpoint what went wrong when a plant didn't thrive. Did it receive too much or too little water? Was it planted in the wrong type of soil? By documenting these observations, you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future and continuously improve your gardening skills.

Seasonal Planning

Planning is crucial in gardening, especially if you want a garden that blooms year-round or produces a steady supply of fresh vegetables. A garden journal serves as your personal planner, helping you create planting schedules, crop rotations, and draw out new planting plans or ideas. You can also jot down ideas for next season's garden layout or note down plants you'd like to try based on your observations and experiences.

Preserving Memories

A garden journal captures more than just practical information; it preserves the emotional journey of gardening. You can record your thoughts, feelings, and inspirations as you watch your garden grow. It can capture your artistic side by being a place to sketch a beautiful view or write a poem. Whether it's the joy of harvesting your first tomatoes or the satisfaction of seeing bees pollinate your flowers, these memories become a cherished part of your gardening story.

Connecting with Nature

Keeping a garden journal encourages mindfulness and a deeper connection with your garden. It prompts you to observe closely—whether it's the changing colors of leaves in autumn, the emergence of springtime buds, or the subtle growth patterns of your plants. This mindfulness fosters a greater appreciation for the natural world around you and can be a calming and meditative practice.

Sharing and Community

Your garden journal can also serve as a valuable resource for others, whether they're fellow gardeners, friends, or family members. You can share your experiences, tips, and insights, creating a sense of community and inspiring a passion for gardening in others. It becomes a personal legacy that can move future generations to cultivate their own gardens.

photographying a garden on cell phone By Andrii AdobeStock
Garden journaling can be done with notebooks and mobile phones or tablets.  Don't forget to include pictures! (2)

Getting Started

Starting a garden journal doesn't require any special skills or equipment—just a notebook or digital app where you can jot down your observations regularly. Include sketches, photographs, or diagrams to supplement your written notes and make your journal even more informative and visually appealing. It should be something that can be close by while out in the garden.  

What to Record

Anything related or inspired by your garden can be recorded in your garden journal. This can include: 

  • Weather conditions
  • Blooming times
  • Planting dates
  • Planting locations
  • Seed starting dates
  • Harvest dates
  • Harvest amounts
  • Plant inventory
  • Seed inventory
  • Favorite cultivars/varieties (especially in the vegetable garden)
  • Comparison charts (how did the three different beefsteak tomatoes you planted this year stack up?)
  • Plants that thrive or fail
  • Anomalies and unusual occurrences ("the lilac bloomed in the fall this year")
  • Plant sources (such as nurseries or catalogs they were purchased from)
  • Crop rotation plan
  • Garden maps
  • Garden dimensions
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Completed garden tasks
  • To-do list for next spring (or fall, etc.)
  • Problem weeds
  • Animal damage (type and date)
  • Problem insects or diseases
  • Pesticide applications
  • Fertilizer applications
  • Inspiration and ideas
  • Photos 
  • Sketches, poetry, or musings inspired by the garden
  • Wildlife observed
  • Wish-list plants


Photo credits: 1: samiramay/AdobeStock; 2: Andrii/AdobeStock

Last reviewed:
June 2024