Journaling with Words and Images: ideas for garden journals

Download/print the one page PDF of this handout.

 Creative writing that describes your garden is a way to save your garden memories to enjoy later, as well as remind you to stop and enjoy it in the moment. Using a camera, sketching or watercolor painting can also capture your garden beautifully.

Writing about your garden

From a practical standpoint, you may want to include planting dates for seeds and plants, transplanting dates, source and cost for plants and seeds, weather details such as rainfall, storms or frost, plant characteristics, date of germination, date plants emerge in spring, appearance of blooms, date of vegetable harvest or flowers cut, any fertilizer or other chemicals applied.

Don’t forget to make some sensual observations including sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing — spend time ENJOYING your garden. Each week, note what is blooming. Write about what vegetables or herbs you are harvesting and how you are enjoying them. Describe the insects and wildlife you observe.

Templates for garden journals

http://www.arbico-organics.com/category/garden-journal (24 page pdf) http://www.gardensandcrafts.com/gardenjournals.html (variety of pages, plus thematic sets, pdf) http://www.hmk.on.ca/journal.html (text prompts of what to include in a garden journal)

Writing exercises

  • Find a blooming or budding plant. Study it, smell it, touch it, enjoy it. Write about it. Be as descriptive as you can.
  •  Imagine a wish-list garden—ignore the realities of your limited time and money, your small yard of untilled soil, the harsh Kansas climate. What fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, perennials, plants, architectural or water features, modern conveniences, would you include?

Image exercises

  • Even if you don’t garden, add photos or drawings of your favorite plants or natural things to your journal and write about how these natural objects inspire you. Consider pressing a leaf or flower directly in the pages of your journal, or within tissue paper or waxed paper if needed.
  • Gather a few fresh leaves, stems or flowers. Use the edge of an unwrapped crayon to create a leaf rubbing right in the pages of your journal. It will be difficult to write on the waxy crayon surface, add your writing to the page first, or write around the edges of the leaf rubbing.
  • For gardeners, include drawings and photos of your garden as the seasons change, capture the flowering plants at peak bloom. Take pictures of before and after you planted your garden, and throughout the growing and harvest season. Include or collage seed packets, clippings from magazines or catalogs, a garden plan, or recipes for your garden harvest.

Recommended Books

The monthly workshop “journaling with words and images” meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 10 am at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.

photo credit: Some rights reserved by Joana Roja – working long hours, mostly away: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cats_mom/2823492298/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Lissa Staley

Lissa Staley helps people use the library. She is a Book Evangelist, Health Information Librarian, Arts & Crafts Librarian, Trivia Emcee, Classics Made Modern book group leader, and frequent library customer, especially with her children. She reads a new book every few days, but recently loved Adorkable by Sarra Manning, Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman and Tin Star by Cecil Castellucchi.