Taking Stock of Your Garden: The Benefits of Keeping a Garden Journal


It's stock-taking time here at Milestone and our wonderful staff are out in force, PDE's in hand, making sure stock levels are up-to-date in preparation for the end of our tax year. Not the most exciting task I grant you, but it got me thinking about taking stock in general and taking stock of our gardens, in particular.

Here in the UK, we all know summer has been a bit of a let down weather-wise this year. But we’re a hardy bunch and we won’t let a little (or a lot, let’s be honest!) rain, dampen our resolve. After all, there are always brighter (and hopefully warmer) days ahead and another year to get excited about. To that end, now could be the perfect time to get out of the rain, put the kettle on and start to take stock of your garden and make plans for next year. This mid-year reflection will not only allow you to appreciate the fruits of your labour but can also set the stage for thoughtful planning and improvements in the seasons ahead. One of the most effective ways to facilitate this reflection is by keeping a garden journal.


Why take stock of your garden?

1. Evaluate: Look around your garden and note what has thrived and what has struggled. Have certain flowers bloomed spectacularly, while others failed to impress? Did pests plague some plants more than others? Understanding these dynamics helps in making informed decisions for the future.

2. Understand: The UK weather is notoriously unpredictable. Keeping a record of how your garden changes with the seasons provides valuable insights into plant performance under different conditions. This understanding can guide your plant choices and care strategies.

3. Plan: By assessing your current garden setup, you can identify areas for expansion or redesign. Maybe you want to add a vegetable patch next spring or introduce more pollinator-friendly plants. Taking stock now means you can start planning and preparing well in advance.


The Garden Journal: Your Essential Tool

A garden journal is more than just a record-keeping device; it’s a roadmap to a thriving garden. Here’s how to make the most of it:

1. Document Everything: From planting dates and weather patterns to pest activity and fertilisation schedules, note down all relevant details. This comprehensive record will become a treasure trove of information over time.

2. Include Photos: Visual documentation can be incredibly helpful. Regularly take photos of your garden to capture its evolution. These images can reveal growth patterns and seasonal changes that might not be obvious in written notes alone.

3. Sketch Your Layout: Draw a map of your garden layout. This visual aid helps in planning plant rotations, understanding sun exposure, and organising your space efficiently. Update it as you make changes.

4. Reflect Regularly: Set aside time each week to jot down observations. What’s blooming? What’s struggling? Any new pest sightings? Regular reflections help you stay on top of garden management and make timely interventions.

5. Plan Ahead: Use your journal to plan for the future. List plants you want to try, ideas for new garden features, and notes on what supplies you’ll need. A well-maintained journal becomes a strategic planning tool, ensuring you’re always prepared for the next season.


Getting Started

If you’ve never kept a garden journal before, starting can seem daunting. Here are a few tips to get you going:

Choose Your Format: Whether it’s a traditional notebook, a digital app, or a combination of both, pick a format that you find easy to use and maintain.

Start Simple: Begin with basic entries like plant names, planting dates, and weather observations. Gradually add more details as you become comfortable.

Be Consistent: Consistency is key. Even brief, regular entries are more valuable than sporadic, detailed ones.



Taking stock of your garden and maintaining a journal might seem like extra work, but the benefits are immense. Not only does it deepen your connection with your garden, but it also equips you with the knowledge and insights to make each growing season better than the last. So grab that notebook or open that app, and start documenting your garden’s journey today. Happy gardening!