Fall in Maine was beautiful this year. The golden colors of the maples were postcard worthy. Even though we had cool weather, the first frost was late. The warm temperatures delayed cutting back perennials, and the annual leaf raking and shredding.
The window between the first frost and the ground being frozen solid was short this year. Bulb planting kept being put off until I had to scramble to get them in the ground.
I have to admit my weakness for daffodils and alliums. (Just for the record, I would love to plant tulips, but the deer like them more than I do.) Every year I try to restrain myself but those bulb catalogs are just irresistible.
Because of being rushed into getting them planted I forgot to draw a simple site plan for the bulbs. Now I have only a vague idea where they are.
With daffodils this will not be a problem since they will poke their little heads up early, as for the alliums it was a big mistake. I ordered some late blooming alliums this year and I will have to be careful next spring not to disturb the bulbs. This was the first time in several years that I failed to record this information in my journal.
Keeping a garden journal is a disciplined practice and it took me several years before I consistently made entries each day I worked in the garden. I share this with you because keeping a journal takes commitment and courage. The good intentions when you start a garden journal are hard to maintain.
When I first started I would find that after a few weeks I would forget, procrastinate, or tell myself I had nothing to write down. One day I finally decided that since I was a habitual list maker, journal entries would go on my daily to-do list. Knowing that I rarely carry any item over to the next day, it was the push I needed. Now I record everything from deadheading a rose bush to what bed I pulled a few weeds from.
Journal's also require courage. There is no point in keeping a record of your garden if you do not keep track of your mistakes and failures. The courage comes into play when you are able to record the same mistake from the summer before and own up to it.
Last summer I forgot to once again shear off the Cerastium tomentosum "Snow in Summer" right as the blooms were fading and ended up with a mess of stems and leaves that looked pitiful the rest of the summer. If I had been on top of it I would have seen this plant bloom again before summer's end.
Winter is a great time to take stock of your garden by reading back through your entries for the year and making a list of all the things you hope to do and correct. Now you can sit back and wait for spring, when once again you will be able to feel the warm earth on your hands.
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