GBDW – Labeling and Record-Keeping Wrap-Up

– Posted in: Garden Design


Clearly, many of us put a good bit of thought and time into keeping track of our plants. Some use various kinds of labels in the garden; others prefer to keep their planting records on paper. Still others use a combination of these options, or have come up with something totally different. We’ve gotten an exciting variety of ideas for garden labeling and record-keeping this month, so let’s get right to the posts.

Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Labeling and Record-Keeping (Nan at Gardening Gone Wild): The kick-off post for this month’s topic. Be sure to check out the comments on this one, because there are lots of ideas that didn’t get blogged about separately.

Addendum to GGW Design Workshop on Labeling and Record Keeping (Fran at Gardening Gone Wild): Fran shares two unique labeling options from the Tel Aviv University Botanical Gardens.

Happy New Year (Lisa at Greenbow): Is starting a garden journal one of your resolutions for 2009? You’ll be interested to see Lisa’s various approaches for keeping track of her planting and planning projects.

Bouquet of Bloom…Tags (Gail at Clay and Limestone): Not sure you could keep up with a formal record-keeping system? Gail’s Bloom Tag Bouquets might work for you too! Be sure to check out the comments here too; there are several more great ideas.

Cataloging Plants: Part 1 (Linda from Each Little World): Linda has given up on plant labels and turned to a system she finds much handier: an extensive card catalog, which is featured in her part 1 post. Part 2 covers some additional ideas.

Garden Plan, Garden Map or Garden Photos? (Cameron at Defining Your Home Garden): Any of you who have struggled with your own garden plans will get a sympathetic chuckle at Cameron’s record-keeping adventures. She seems to have come up with a good solution, though!

Using Temporary Botanical Names (Carol at May Dreams Gardens): Trust Carol to come up with fun stories that are packed with useful information too. In this post, she shares some tips on botanical nomenclature and makes a good argument for the benefits of labeling. Plant Catalog Update covers her ambitious attempt to keep track of all of her plants, as well as the handy catalog page template that she came up with. Thinking about starting a garden journal? Don’t wait! But first, check out Carol’s tips in Embrace Garden Journals for a Happier Life.

An Invaluable Tool: How to Keep a Garden Journal (Heirloom Gardener): Budding journal-keepers need to check out HG’s post too, for more great pointers on starting and organizing a garden journal. And don’t miss How to Keep Track of What Plants You Have Bought, Where They are Going, and What You Still Need to Buy: The Garden Planning Binder – the title says it all!

I Try to Avoid Labeling (Jim at Art of Gardening): Jim may try to avoid labeling, but with thousands of visitors viewing his garden during Garden Walk Buffalo, it’s nothing less than a survival strategy.

Tagging My Garden (Veg Plotting): VP is another gardener willing to share the progression of labeling (or labelling, if you prefer) techniques she’s used over the years in her own garden. Want to know how the pros keep track of their collections? Don’t miss her post Garden Tagging the National Trust Way. And for all you vegetable gardeners, check out Veg Plotting – 2009 Style.

Not What – But Where? (Frances at Fairegarden): If it comes from Fairegarden, you know it’s got to be good. Go drool over the photos, but be sure to read Frances’ story and the extensive collection of comments as well!

I’m pretty sure that covers everyone who contributed a link on the kick-off post. I think I remember seeing a few others this month, though, so if you wrote a related post or know of one I missed, please leave a note and/or link below. Thanks, everyone!

Nancy J. Ondra
Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.
Nancy J. Ondra

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Frances January 31, 2009, 6:31 am

Hi Nan, in the beginning this topic was difficult to get a handle on, but after reading some of the posts, there is more to this subject than meets the eye! HA


You did a great job, Frances, as did all of the other participants. I’m certainly full of good intentions for my record-keeping this year.

VP January 31, 2009, 8:13 am

I was surprised at how much material I had on this topic – especially as I’ve just gone and done rather than thought about it before!

Yep, I think you covered it all, VP: home gardens and public gardens; ornamentals and edibles!

jodi January 31, 2009, 11:46 am

Gulp. I still haven’t done mine, Nan. I blame it on recuperating from surgery and from teaching a writing workshop. I’ll be late, apparently. But I’ve been greatly inspired by others’ work in this discussion.

You know where to find us whenever you’re ready, Jodi. You have plenty to keep you busy at the moment.

gina February 1, 2009, 12:31 am

Nan – I’m sorry I’m just now getting around to this but my post is up, now.

Thanks, Gina! I understand waiting for the snow to melt so you could take photos. I tried to look for a label yesterday, but my garden is still under 2 inches of frozen-solid snow.

Heirloom Gardener February 1, 2009, 1:32 am


I enjoyed reading all of the posts this month, especially Jim’s about labeling in advance of a garden tour–it seems so obvious now that he’s mentioned it.

-Heirloom Gardener

I agree, HG – that’s a great idea!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter February 1, 2009, 1:57 pm

I thought about taking a photo of all my plant labels, but they are scattered throughout the house & garage. I don’t think anybody would want to adopt that system.

Maybe they wouldn’t *want* to, but I suspect that many others *have*!

Shady Gardener February 14, 2009, 12:13 am

Boy Nan, I’ve been working on a notebook this Winter. I’m gaining on it… what with the variety of posts I’ve done on different plants in my gardens… I plan to have maps, etc. I will share it whenever I finish! 😉 Everyone has so much to share and one can get lost of great ideas!! Thanks for putting this together!

Good for you, Shady! That’s a great way to pass the winter months. I look forward to getting the link to your post whenever it’s ready.

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