Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Thomas Jefferson Style Garden Journal Progress

Reading prodigiously about Thomas Jefferson inspired me to organize my miscellaneous collections of plant tags...

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...and magazine clippings about plants into a gardening journal. I have collecting many, many pages of gardening notes over the years from various publications, mostly from one of my favorite magazines, Southern Living. My accumulation of clippings have been kept in this yellow file folder. They will now find a home in my journal. The copy of Southern Living shown here is actually an anniversary issue of archived articles on gardening. I think I'll keep this copy intact!

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The My goal is to put all of my gardening information into one place and personalize it like Mr. Jefferson would! He was quite particular and consistent in jotting notes about his surroundings day by day...from temperature to weather conditions to growing conditions for his plants. There is so much to be learned by working the soil, and each bit of property is different enough from the general information collected from plant tags, magazine clippings, and even Mr. Jefferson's notes,  that I wanted a place to record my personal data and compare information.


As I debated on what to specifically use for my garden journal, I stumbled upon this old notebook that held literature notes when I homeschooled. I'm sure Mr. Jefferson would approve! The contents had been emptied long ago but the scrapbook papers I had inserted in the cover had remained and were perfect. The front cover has an 18th century pattern with a bit of contemporary flair.
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Gingham is 18th century (and contemporary) as well!
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And dots are always in fashion! I love the texture. And of course the green is perfect!
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The inside cover has a wildflower commonly found along the shady runs (or creeks) in the spring... bluebells. Since it isn't in my garden, yet good plant information, I thought I'd save this spot for this type of information. I thought it was fun that this article shares where to take a great Bluebell hike within 30  minutes from my house! 

Now for the dividers. These are also salvaged from homeschool days and they still have their old labels. I will probably have them properly labeled the next time I share progress on my journal. This section is about flowers. I have a little catalog from my favorite rose supplier, The Antique Rose Emporium in Texas. I love antique roses! I have collected a few in my Texas garden, and now I have 2 different ones, courtesy of Mr. Jefferson himself, here in my Virginia garden! (These were purchased at Monticello!)
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On the other side of that tab is where I have stored all my plant tags that are too large to put on the individual sheets of information.


Another tab is set aside for fruit. Here is the catalog I got from Edible Landscaping's lead gardener, Michael McConkey, whom I met at the Thomas Jefferson for Historical Plants last October! I had taken notes at his presentation in my colonial day book, which I hope to transcribe here.  
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And here is all my information about our figs!
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This section is about vegetables. I even jot notes on the magazine clippings! I did that back when I lived in Texas! A lot of my magazine clippings have information on the front and back, so I'll probably keep them in the pockets.

I have this garlic growing in my garden now. I've never grown garlic before, but that is a whole new story. I'll share more in a few weeks.

I even have an interactive page! I have a plant tag shows what hydrangeas look like depending on whether they are planted in alkaline or acidic soil by flipping the top! I stapled it in in such a way that I could still flip it to read how to amend the soil accordingly to get whatever color I desire.


The back section contains misc notes like how to prep the garden, a map of hardiness zones, etc. I'm not sure how I want to organize that yet. Also I have extra plant tags for plants that I'm not sure we have anymore. We've had some harsh winters and I can't remember where everything is. These are a work-in-progress.


In future posts I'll share where the misc ended up and a close-up of my personal gardening notes. Also I'll share examples of Thomas Jefferson's garden journals, by linking to the original websites!

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