Best Laid Garden Plans; or Who are you kidding?

All this confusion started when I ordered my first bulbs this past year. Being new at this big-time gardening thing, planning to plant for next year was a foreign delayed-gratification concept never explored because of a heavy workload that didn’t allow room for those kinds of thoughts. Southern Bulb Company has a great reputation for fine quality bulbs, so I started there.
I LOVE their packaging…

Then, I got hooked on the idea of daylilies. So I spent hours researching daylilies. I created a whole new bed for them, modified the soil, let it rest, and looked at daylily pictures till my eyes crossed. So then I purchased daylilies that will either work or they won’t. We’ll find out in a couple of months.

After planting more bulbs and a few passalong seeds, I started getting overwhelmed. Too many new and different plants, too much of the “plop a plant” method so aptly described by Pam/Digging. Being a natural-born spatial relationship/designer type of person, I couldn’t have too much chaos or I would end up not enjoying the garden at all. My organizational skills came through like a champ this weekend.

I already had a garden book with pages and pages of how to take care of the plants that I already have, and more pages of plants that I want. But I was getting confused as to what was where and what did “where” need added to it to make it perfect? (ha!)

And if I did add something, how can I remember what new bulbs went in the ground in my bulbfest, and what will they even look like, anyway? Yes, at least I did put in sticks where I planted with names. Out came the graph paper!


This, my friends, is my back yard. To scale, no less. After much measuring, sneezing, reading tongue depressors used as name tags, sneezing more, counting, and even more sneezing (it is Cedar Fever season, after all), I was able to create this map of my yard. In pencil, of course, because a lot of things might not live through the drought, and I’m sure I’ll rearrange a few things once I see them bloom. The front yard map is half-way finished. I was able to indicate where all my long lost sprinkler valves are now that I’ve paid hundreds of dollars to find and replace them.

My garden book contains pages from seminars I attended at Zilker Gardens.


I also created a page for each plant, with photo from the web, usually Dave’s Garden, and growing information.


The divider tabs have nice pockets where I stick more plant info from when I purchased the plant, as well as receipts that I’ve managed to hang on to just to remind myself from time to time that I could have spent six months on Virgin Gorda for what this garden costs.


Don’t you think this was a great project to distract me from cleaning the house? I’ve already been making a list of plants I MUST HAVE for my newly organized beds. Can’t wait for spring so some of this work might pay off!


14 thoughts on “Best Laid Garden Plans; or Who are you kidding?

  1. Every little bit of organization helps – your notebook looks good to me, Robin.

    Maybe one reason I couldn’t resist the Southern Living/Grand Primo bulbs was the cloth bag they came in ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  2. Wow, you really got organized, Robin. A blueprint of the garden is always useful, especially in the beginning. Later on you may not use it much, but you can keep it as a record of the garden’s real beginning. And yes, it’s all MUCH better than cleaning the house!

  3. It mostly helped me get my THOUGHTS organized, Pam. I couldn’t remember what I planted where, and since I’ve not yet seen them bloom, I had to have pictures to remind me of what they might look like. It’s all part of my self-education, right? And I also read what you’ve said about passing it on to the next owners. Not that I’m selling now, but someday I hope to have a larger home with a pool, or perhaps with an ocean view!

  4. Looks good to me! I’ll enjoy checking back in to see how things are progressing. I love Dave’s Garden! I use that site all the time to get information I need on seeds I’ve started, or Plants I’ve purchased so I can enter it into the record software I use. For years I tried to keep a notebook- it never seemed like enough. Finally I found Garden Tracker (! You can input photos of plants you have and a diagram of where they are…even print out labels for them or envelopes for seeds collected. The seed starting log is great- and you can enter in photos of the seedlings. The printable worksheets are nice to take a notebook out in the garden- to have a place to jot things down to enter into the computer. I don’t care for the seed logs that you can print out- so I made my own, however. They are available on my blog for anyone to use. It really helps to keep everything organized, so keep it up. It’s also fun to look back years later!

    Happy Gardening!

  5. Tessa, I’ll definitely check out that software! Thanks for all the info. Whew, right now I’m just happy to know that I still have some empty places for more plants.

  6. Wow. i’m so impressed. I aspire to that level of organization … but I mostly fail in fits and starts. The notebook is awesome, and the daylilies look fabulous. I can’t wait to see how they do. As I told you, I was unhappy with some of mine last year, so maybe we can compare notes. Looking good — so — what are you covering today? Anything too tender for an ice/freeze?

  7. Yes, I’m anxious to see how the daylilies do as well. I’ll be happy to passalong whatever works once I have extras. Yes, I have a handful of plants that get covered everytime we get below 40, which has been frequent this year. My succulents are tucked away inside a portable greenhouse of sorts that seems to work, and the Rangoon Creeper is so young that I cover it, too. The Snail Vine is struggling, so she’ll get a blanket, too. The crotons are covered, but it appears they may not make it through the winter even with cover. oh well, no big deal, I expected that. I through a sheet over the ginger this time, just to protect the leaves, but I’m not too concerned about it since this isn’t going to be a long freeze. Now is when your greenhouse is really great!

  8. It’s always good to know we have empty spaces for more plants- I agree! Happy Gardening, Robin! I hope your daylilies bring you lots of joy!

  9. Tessa, thanks for the good thoughts. It looks like ya’ll are really cold this week; isn’t it amazing that we are considered to be the same hardiness zone? Our areas couldn’t be more different, though our average low temperatures are the same. Stay warm and dry!

  10. Wish you’d come organize me. I’m in terrible need of it. I haven’t gotten into the daylilies yet, but am leaning in that direction. I have the plop in the ground and forget syndrome. Must be a word for it. Or a support group to help you control it.

  11. Oh, Brenda, we should start a support group! Plop and Forget Anonymous! Check back in April and May to see how the daylilies are faring. I’m concerned that if they do well, I’ll go nuts and buy lots more because there are so many gorgeous ones available. Wait, that’s sending the wrong message, right?

  12. You are so organized! I still have last years tags & receipts stuffed in a ziplock baggie. You’ve given me some great ideas for a better way to keep up with all that stuff!

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