Summer 2013

Summer 2013
This gardening blog is written in Bathurst, NSW, Australia.





Monday, March 26, 2012

Hooray, Another List!

I've already mentioned that I'm a listmaker. It's not just that lists are useful, I also enjoy the process. It is with glee that I take up the pens, ruler and coloured markers, or the keyboard and monitor, as the case may be.  I gloat lovingly over the finished product. So when I decided this week that I needed (okay, could justify) one more list, I felt nothing but pleasure. And so far, I've been enjoying it enormously. So what is this new list?
It's one I could have used a long time ago, and I don't know why I didn't think of it before. It's simply a reference list of every plant in every garden bed: common name, botanical name, number of plants and the dates they were planted. It will make blogging about the garden so much easier. Imagine if I wanted to blog about this part of the garden. There are quite a few plants here.



I know the names: Lavender, Salvia, Sedum, etc. But which Lavender? Which Sedum?  Which Salvia? I can't reliably remember all the botanical names and cultivars. Those I can remember, I may not be sure I can spell. Yet, this is the sort of information I find really helpful in the blogs I read, so I want to include it in my blog posts, too.

I have these details, but not in a very convenient form. They're in the book where I keep the labels of every plant I buy, or written notes if the plant was propagated rather than bought.



This book is in chronological order, so the only way to find a particular plant is to leaf through it until I see the picture or find the name. As the book goes back to 2004, this can take a while. And then, often the plant label doesn't have the whole botanical name, so I have to turn to the internet or a reference book. This takes time and is frankly irritating, especially when the books slide off my small computer desk and crash to the floor. So I am transferring all the information to a list, or rather a group of lists, with one table for each garden area.


I'm using Excel spreadsheets which means I can easily add or subtract plants to keep the lists current. I have completed the table for one garden bed so far. The picture below shows part of this bed.


Glancing lightheartedly at my list, I find that the plants shown in this picture are:
    • Blue Agapanthus (Agapanthus orientalis)
    • Dwarf Blue Agapanthus (Agapanthus orientalis 'Peter Pan')
    • Pink Buddleia (Buddleia davidii ‘Pink Delight’)
    • Catmint (Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant')
    • Argyle Apple (Eucalyptus cinerea)
    • Pink Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri 'Passionate Pink')
    • Red Autumn Sage (Salvia gregii 'Flame')
And then I am able to trip merrily on my blogging way.


The list will also be very useful when I'm adding new plants to garden beds. The Euphorbia below was planted as an experiment. Some Euphorbias don't grow well in my conditions, so I only planted one. It's looking really happy, so I'll definitely want to make this a whole group next spring. But what was it called, again? Oh yes, my friendly list informs me, it's Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Craigieburn'.


And how about that new Penstemon that looks so good with the old Wormwood (Artemisia arborescens) ?



Of course, it's Penstemon x gloxinioides 'Raspberry Flair'. Must get a few more of those.

This is going to be one of the great lists, I can just tell.

......................

In other exciting news this week, Jane, from Tidy Gardens by Jane, has nominated me for a 'Very Inspiring Blogger' award. Jane is one of my favourite bloggers. She is a professional gardener who writes about all kinds of garden-related things in a relaxed, often very funny, style that always brightens my day. Thanks, Jane!


I'll think about who I'd like to pass a nomination to and write about it in another post soon.

17 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your award! I often think I am a list maker, but clearly I am not a list keeper and therein lies the problem.... Just looking at your marvelous book with all the labels posted in - I did start something similar at one time, but it never progressed past the stage of a box of loose labels, which got mixed in with the seeds and is now overflowing.... I have a list in excel, in folia, little scraps of paper, just don't maintain any of them!

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    1. That book is not quite as organised as it seems - there is a double blank page hidden in there with one sentence on it: "2010 plantings not noted." What happened in 2010? Apparently,I just lost interest, or discipline, or perhaps I was abducted by aliens. And there are a few smaller gaps too. But this book has been so useful to me that I have become better at maintaining it.

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  2. You are so organised. When we first started the garden, I had a list of plants but I never kept it up. I often wish I had.

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    1. It's never too late to start! My book only starts in 2004 and has several gaps, but it's been very helpful and I can see the list being even more so. Unfortunately, I am not so disciplined in the garden. So I have a pristine list, but grass is engulfing the garden bed it documents..

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  3. Yay for lists! I completely agree the process of making them is as rewarding as they are useful.

    I had exactly the same epiphany when I couldn't remember the cultivar names, and I couldn't remember when I had planted each thing. You have solved the problem elegantly and efficiently and already you can tell your gardening life is simpler.

    Congrats on the award --- well deserved!!

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    1. Thanks, Laurrie. If only the lists could do the weeding.

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  4. NOT such a professional gardener...I should have kept such a sensible list & journal when creating our garden years ago. Then I'd remember what they all were when asked.
    Let Lyn be a lesson to us all how it SHOULD be done xxx

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    1. Jane, the lists are not complete because there are gaps in my book, so I'm going to have to research some plants before I can add them. You could always do this with your garden if you had a few thousand spare hours - maybe a retirement project for the future? :)

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  5. What a great idea! Oh that I should ever be so organized! One of my blog's jobs is to keep track of these cultivars for me - if I label it in one of my posts, at least it's somewhere out there, right? My other method of keeping track of plants is to keep a pile of all the plant labels. Of course this pile is really more like a couple piles in the garage which I have to search through laboriously to find what I am looking for!
    Maybe one of my kids will fight of the disorganized gene and help me someday..

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    1. At least all your labels are in one spot! Mine used to be wherever I put them down after planting, so I had labels in the laundry, the shed, the garage, the kitchen, even the bedroom! It's taken 8 years to get the method down, but now I put every plant label into a small basket on top of my microwave, and then paste them into the book at (very) irregular intervals. The plan is to add them to the list at the same time they go into the book. We'll see if it works.

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  6. It's nice to meet someone who also gets a lot of enjoyment from compiling lists. I've been keeping track of my plants for a few years now. Unfortunately, my previous lists went to hard drive heaven, and with no backup were lost forever. I now back up daily, and have just bought a new drive to back up the backup.

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    1. Oh no, what a disaster! We've just bought a new backup drive too, and I'm also going to print out a hard copy of the lists a couple of times a year, just to be extra safe.

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  7. I am terrible at making or keeping up with lists, but I have been thinking lately I need one just like that for my plants. If only I knew Excel!

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    1. Holley, all my other kinds of lists are in Microsoft Word, which I'm more familiar with. But people keep telling me Excel is better, so I'm trying it for this list. I don't think the format matters (handwritten works for lots of people)but you have to love making lists or you won't keep it up. And if you're not a listmaker, you have more time for actual gardening!

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  8. Excellent idea - you are very organized! I keep a list of plant names, but don't record when and where I got it... The spreadsheet idea is great - you could also keep track of things like when each plant blooms, what problems it has had and so on. I think I will just remember all of these things, but of course it's too much to keep in my little head!

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  9. Wow, I'm impressed!!! I am a compulsive list maker, but usually of jobs that need doing, and I get so much pleasure crossing them off, sad!! I am very new to blogging and computers in general, each time my son visits he teaches me something new! Maybe one day I will understand spreadsheets and be as organised as you!

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  10. Lyn - you have ventured into a territory that is very powerful! Excel is an excellent tool to index your gardens & plants. Your garden journal rings true to me too. (I'm on "Journal #2) Jean, from "Jean's Garden", is another list maker/Excel indexer too. You women are my heros!! :D

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