February 14, 2007
Your digital photos of the previous garden year should be organised with a photo downloading program such as Picasa. The program will present your photo’s chronologically by download, and you will be able to edit, label and adjust them easily. Then you can page through your logbook to find problem areas that you would like to deal with and then find the corresponding photos in your photo organiser. Most problem areas in the naturalistic garden will have one or more of the following faults:
- Generally poor plant health
- Insufficient plant coverage
- Undesired dominance of one plant
- Lack of variety throughout the season
- Weed infestation
- Sudden die-back of desirable plant
The keys to solving all these problems lie in the phrase,
“The right plant(s) in the right place“.
To be continued……
February 14, 2007
After a photographic record, the best resource for out-of-season garden planning is a diary or logbook: and the time to begin a logbook is now. Use it to define your plans and to firm up the dates for what must be done. Need to seed? Plan backwards from the first frost free day (traditionally June 1 in the Edmonton Zone 3b area, May 21 for the brave) when seedlings can be planted out, to calculate the best time to begin your indoor seeding. Log when you seed, what you seed and how you cared for the seedlings. Note weather conditions as the season progresses and include bird and butterfly sightings. Note emergence days for your perennials as well as when they first flower and when the last flower fades. Keep track of problem plants – note their immediate environment and soil conditions and the pests that may be bothering them then refer to a plant guide to see what changes need to be made in order for that plant to thrive. Pay attention to sun and shadow patterns throughout the day. Note what new plants are purchased and map the location where they are planted. Have a bright idea for a change or a new concept? Note it down immediately. All these accumulated facts will help with the decision making for the next garden season.
February 14, 2007
One of the best ways to plan during the winter months is to be able to refer back to notes and photographs you have taken the year before. In the digital age nothing could now be easier. A basic digital camera, combined with photo organizing software such as Google’s free Picasa program are all the tools you need to record a visual record of your garden as it changes throughout the growing season.
A weekly stroll around the garden with camera in hand will make the following years’ planning relatively simple task, but how do you approach it? Here are a few hints:
- every well designed garden will have a few viewpoints from which it is possible to overlook an attractive scene or a small vignette of some kind. From these points, take a picture of the scene from the level with which it would normally be viewed.
- take several pictures from different angles from the public sidewalk which fronts your home, or switch to video mode and record the view as you slowly walk past the front garden. Then do the same when walking past in the opposite direction.
- most of us have areas of the garden which we want to develop, or areas which we consider a complete eyesore. Photograph these areas from the planned viewpoints, being sure to capture the background and surroundings as well.
- all cameras with video mode also have a microphone, so adding a verbal commentary while recording will later help you with your plans
- all seating areas should overlook a pleasant view, so be sure to capture these scenes while seated
- from inside the house, photograph the garden from windows and doorways where you would commonly pause to look out over the landscape.
By next winter you will have a good selection of photographs covering all the important areas of the garden in all their life stages throughout the season. With this information in hand, planning for the following garden year will become a pleasure.
Next: The Garden Logbook