September 8, 2008

Using a Camera for Garden Journals

I often hear gardeners ask how to keep a gardening journal. My camera is one of my favorite tools to use to capture and document the bloom times. The photos also serve a purpose when I begin planning changes in the garden. By taking frequent photos of the same scene over time, I can decide what plants to add, subtract or move around for the next year's garden. This studying of photos serves me well for planning purposes as the photo information includes the date that the photo was taken. My camera software also allows me to add keywords, like labels, so that I can easily search and locate photos with common keywords.

In May, the purple Spanish Lavender, Spanish bluebells, yellow snapdragons, lavender blooming nepeta, yellow iris pseudocorus show up in the front outer garden. The snapdragons (2nd year of bloom) have now been pulled from the garden as they looked bad the rest of the summer. I will be sowing larkspur and poppies this fall for blooms next year.

Standing in roughly the same spot in the garden, I took another photo in June. The Japanese irises were the stars of the garden. The spirea 'Neon Flash' was in full bloom, too. The nepeta were starting to fade along the left side of the path, but the Knock Out Roses were falling through the fence. By looking at my garden through successive photos, I decided to sow larkspur this fall to fill the gap along the fence behind the nepeta and in front of the roses.

By August, the perennial ageratum along the right side of the path was in bloom. The salvia ulignosa bloomed constantly once it started. It is still in bloom today. The echinacea 'Ruby Star' bloomed for months and the spirea 'Neon Flash' was in the 2nd bloom by August.

In addition to taking garden scenes like these, I also use the camera for close-up photos of individual blooms. In the winter months, I take time to organize my photos electronically. This is where each gardener has great flexibility in keeping a garden journal through photos.

You can store the photos by month, season, by flower type, etc. There are even online photo processing services available that make it easy to print out a bound photo album or individual photos. You can add captions, date stamps, and other information about each photo. Photos provide a fun and easy way to keep visual and accurate records of your garden. If you really want to have some fun, you can also create personalized greeting cards and calendars with your garden photos!

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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