Garden Journaling

Asclepias and Monarch

Starting in February, 2006, I maintained a serious garden journal online. Each day I photographed my perennial garden, recorded observations, and selected at least one representative photograph, sometimes more.  The discipline of documenting each day in the garden was a rejuvenating and healing act.  The task of photographing the garden made me want the garden to look its best, so the garden was well tended that year.

Being able to refer back to my garden journal and to be reminded how the garden appeared at certain points during the year; to see pictures of plants that were remarkable once, but that have not survived; to remember people who walked the paths once but who no longer live nearby; these things I value.

At the time the best reward of that forced interaction with my garden came in the experience one has from tending anything that then responds back, gently and surely, stronger the relationship each day.

Without the compulsion to get the daily photograph what delights I would have missed.  I would not have known of the Eastern Box Turtle, that interesting visitor who journeyed into to my garden one day.  Many blossoms might have peaked, then withered without my seeing.  The surprises were many. Many days I wondered where could this plant have been yesterday, how could I have walked the same path without being awestruck.

My connection to the garden was intimate; the place itself was safe.  There was a knowing and a healing that occurred there; the simplest or the most complex of tasks became a meditation.

Inattention during the intervening years has dissipated my satisfaction with the garden, but a main goal of redesigning and renovating the garden is to recover and rediscover that sense of place.

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