Several years ago I went to a plant swap that included books and there, pristine and untouched,
was this impressive hard bound garden journal. I had seen it before in a mail order catalog and knew it was pricy; I snatched it up without even looking at the rest of the book offerings-here was the answer to my lackadaisical record keeping.!
10 years at a glance ! Garden maps !
Predictably, it remains unused on my bookcase . Whats the point in mapping a garden I change every year? The book has the heft of an encyclopedia volume , and no weatherproofing-not something I could carry around the garden unless I rigged up a desk on wheels. Looks nice on the bookcase though. Clearly the gardener who offered this at the plant swap had similar issues to mine.
I am happy to say that I did eventually develop a very rustic system of documenting my garden. It's a two part affair, consisting of organizing plant labels and written records. I gave myself permission to write sporadically, and I recognized that I am a list maker -sometimes self awareness is needed in the garden. I bought a spiral notebook, and simply started making lists of things I wanted to accomplish , and crossed them out when completed.This is a de facto history as long as I remember to put the month and year on each page. I like writing in pencil, so that is what I use.
And here we have the Tag-Bags ..Each named area in the garden has it's own bag. When I plant something the tag goes in it's bag. If I move something, I move the tag too. A few times a year I go through the bags and toss the stuff I dug up . The bags are binder-clipped together and hang from a nail over the workbench in my garage.
This fall I am adding a "Dead or Discarded" bag...I expect I will be horrified by the volume of it's contents.