Monday, December 01, 2008

To journal or not to journal?

While cleaning out an area in the den this weekend, I found a pretty little garden journal. Here it is:


I imagine it would only cover a season, as it is small—only has 25 pages or so. I think you could write something once a week or so, from late spring to early fall. That wouldn’t be too much of an issue, because I might not want to write in it every day. Even during the summer, I don’t garden every day. I suppose I could record observations.


Now, I am well aware that any serious gardener would probably use the Lee Valley 10-year journal, which has 544 pages, with charts, information on cultivation and maintenance and other reference information, as well as the generous diary section.

When I first heard this being discussed on Plurk, I was surprised. I had thought of our blogs as in many ways our journals. But they aren’t, really. It would be deathly boring if I blogged about every single thing I did in the garden. Wouldn’t it?

But to go back to the handwritten page? I don’t know; it seems radical! Why should I do it? I have to think it over—but quickly, as it is under consideration as a possible holiday gift. I'm told.

24 comments:

Carol said...

You should journal on the handwritten page, just for yourself! No one else sees it, except at your invitation, so it can be as mundane as you want it to be.

But I must warn you that the 10 year journal is a big, heavy book, so if you are wanting something to take out to the garden and write your notes in while sitting by your pond, stick with your little journal. The 10 year book is best left on a corner of the kitchen counter, where you can see it and write in it every day, but not have to carry it around.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

It always seems like the right thing to do, but I never get around to it.

lostlandscape said...

Great post...journaling vs blogging. My WordPress software comes with a little "keep post private" checkbox that potentially could be used to journal online. But yes, it could get confusing, and forgetting to check the little box could let something scandalous out into the blogosphere...

Kylee said...

I always have good intentions about keeping good records in a journal like that, and I really WANT to, but it just never happens past the first few weeks or so, if that.

Maybe I could make that my New Year's Resolution. Again.

It's kind of like exercise. I know it's a great idea, it's just doing it that's the problem.

I think that big one is fabulous; I've even checked it out for possible purchase before, but if I didn't keep up with that one, I'd feel so guilty! It's so nice! Maybe the smaller one wouldn't be so intimidating for someone.

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

I have so many journals - each with about 4 pages filled in - I would love to keep a journal for a full year - it would be a challange.
It is a lovely book.
K

Colleen said...

I've got a few garden journals from various years sitting around, each with maybe two or three entries in it. I should really write things down, but I just never get around to it. Maybe next year...

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I am a write it down journaler. I like garden blogs. I feel they are more like conversations with other people. I have rarely gone back to my blog (I have been blogging for just over a year) to see what was going on when. I do like the ease of posting pictures. but to me nothing takes the place of the written journal.

I have for years used a sketching journal to write and sketch in. Some years they are filled sometimes there is more than one year in a book and sometimes the books aren't quite full. It doesn't matter. What matters to me is I can sit in my comfy chair and browse through the books and see what projects were finished, what chores I didn't do etc...

Frances said...

Hi Elizabeth, food for thought here. Personally, I have been writing on notebook paper for several years, especially writing down the names of new purchases and where I got them and where they were planted. Of course stuff gets moved all the time, but at least the whole name of the plant is wrtten down to go back to. Finding it is another problem, so I usually underline a plant name. The blog has taken away from that notetaking and I had to force myself to go back to making those entries, there is a big gap though, during prime plant buying season. I have several of those pretty journals, all empty, not a word in them. Too pretty to spoil with my messy notes.
Frances

Jim/ArtofGardening said...

No. Don't do it. You don't have time. You write for a living. You write at Rant. You write here. You're only given so many words to write in one lifetime. Don't use them all up in something as selfish as a private garden journal that we'd only publish anyway, after your untimely death from some assumed liver problem.

VP said...

I use a beautiful RHS diary for my day to day gardening activity write-ups. They're a well loved Christmas gift each year and each week has a beautiful botanical painting drawn from their extensive library.

I suppose I could have a personal blog for the same thing, but I'd miss those drawings, the love in the gift given and the portability of it around my garden and allotment.

EAL said...

Thanks for all the advice and observations! I'm tending to think .... not, but still wavering.

Ha, Jim.

Cindy, My Corner of Katy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy, My Corner of Katy said...

Like other commenters, I have a less than stellar track record when it comes to keeping up with a garden journal. I bought the Lee Valley 10 year journal hoping I'd like it as much as other Plurkers did. One month into my journaling, I haven't missed a single day and I actually look forward to making my entries. I'm keeping it on the console table that's to the left of my computer, open to the current date. As often as I'm at the computer, that's the perfect place to ensure I keep up with it!

dr aletta said...

I'm with Jim. If you aren't doing it already you aren't meant to do it. Let it go!

Layanee said...

I like the look of journals, the appeal of writing in a journal and the historical value contained in a used journal but the reality of life seems to intrude on actually writing in the journal. Does anyone actually sit for more than five minutes on any garden bench? That is also an elusive goal.

Kim said...

I guess it depends on whether or not you're a paper lover, someone who requires the tactile sensation of the page. Some people keep their garden journal in software designed for the purpose, some keep it on paper. Some (those of us with the best intentions) keep it in their dreams. You just need to know where you fit.

Daniel Mount said...

I write all my bogs in long hand first in a notebook in the garden, Many of my entries never make it to my blog. I'm a chronic self-editor, so I need to blog in stages. It actually was blogging that got me keeping a journal again, there is so much to write about the garden, the weather, art, you don't need to share it all. Sometimes when I'm drifting through garden-blogger land I feel there is too much sharing going on. Doesn't any one have friends to talk to about their gardens? I am a gardener because I love the elemental world... and there is nothing like lead or ink on paper. Viva la Notebook!!!

Kylee said...

Wow, I feel like I should say something here. I do have friends that I can talk to about my gardens, but most of them aren't gardeners and really couldn't care less about the details of mine. Here on the blogosphere and specifically the garden blogosphere, there are others of like mind. There are many who love the gory details of gardening and I, for one, am glad that people share so much about their gardens and their lives. While gardening is the main reason I blog, in the process, I have gotten to know a great many people behind the blogs. I don't look at them as just a place to go for information anymore. I really love the sharing that goes on between people that have become friends through this venue. My gardens have benefited and so have I, as a person.

But...to each his own! And I respect the view of those that may agree or disagree with me. :-)

EAL said...

Kylee, I emphatically agree with you. Whether to blog or not is not the question. Entering the world of gardening, has, without doubt, changed my life for the better and I would never give it up. I was not sure that was even an option under discussion here!

Kylee said...

Neither was I, Eliz! But me, being ever so loquacious and opinionated, just had to respond to that comment. It was late at night, and I sometimes say things then that I might no otherwise, but really...blogging is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. My life has always been pretty much an open book, so continuing that through blogging doesn't seem that unusual to me, I guess. I've sure met some great people and made some nice friends "out here." :-)

EAL said...

Kylee, I meant to say that entering the world of garden blogging has changed my life for the bettter ... Silly iPhone.

Kylee said...

Actually, I knew what you meant. LOL

lisa said...

Personally I started writing "garden logs" into those black and white composition books way before blogging, and I continue to use them. I have separate sections for composters, water garden, "dead stuff" (plant casualties, so I see how many times I already killed something :), worm bin, mushroom logs, and day-to-day notes. I also like to glue in pictures of design ideas and my "want list" of garden toys. (Heh, like I'd really forget what I want. Mostly I track prices.) But like blogging and everything else-do what you feel like and to heck with the rest! :)

Kathy said...

I have one of those journals. Thank goodness it has become a joint effort between me and my middle daughter. She loves details, especially about weather, so she enters the min & max temperatures and then, before filling the entire space with descriptions of the wind and clouds, thoughtfully asks me if anything started blooming today, or did I plant anything? With this kind of prompting some of the horticultural detail gets included as well as the meteorological.

There is something to be said for the permanence of a written record. If you can't find time to write in a paper journal, perhaps you will find a way to archive your blog writing onto paper, before it turns to digital dust.