Photo-Planning Your Garden: The Simplest 52-Week Project Ever!

Some of the more fastidious gardeners I know sketch out little garden plans every spring or late winter. They know exactly what they’ve planted in the past and how well it went over. They know which plants got wilt, mold, or bug infestations in previous years, and when. They know where there was overcrowding or bald spots that need remedying, too.


Unlike those who wing it year after year, these gardeners never find themselves puzzling over which perennials went where, which new plants can go where, or how long blooms and fruits normally take to appear, thrive, and go kaput. They’ve logged their way to a successful garden.

If you’re not a sketcher but would like to have a better handle on your garden, never fear. You can take charge with your camera instead. And you can start this project at any time of the year. Just photograph your yard/garden every week and label your saved photographs by date. Do it for 52 weeks. Yes, even in the dead of winter.

The main objective is to document the life cycles in your garden (or even your overall landscaping, if you want). After a year revolves, you’ll have a much better grasp of what you can expect throughout the growing season—sort of a who, what, when, where of plants. You won’t have to wonder when exactly it was the irises on the west opened last spring or what color the ones on the east were. You’ll know when the yellow blossoms on the caged vines turned to ripened tomatoes. You’ll know that weird bald spot in the herb garden is eventually going to fill in with marjoram.

So, why photograph beyond the growing season? Because this project is also about art. In the movie Smoke starring Harvey Keitel, a smoke-shop owner photographs the same exact view every day for years—the view of the corner outside his store. His project reveals that there is always some new detail, always a different way to look at the same ol’, same ol’. Try it. You’ll see. Moreover, what you’re creating here is more than a garden-planner. It’s also a calendar. After you’ve done your 52 weeks, divvy up your photographs by month. Then create a photo collage for each month, which will serve as the page for that month in your custom calendar, like so:



(Photo credit: Josh Gormley)

It’s a long project, but it’s an easy one. Start your custom Garden Forecast Calendar today and you’ll never again wonder what the weeks ahead hold for your garden or yard!


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