So my whole index card, cataloging thing sounds like too much work to you? All you need is a system that records what you think is important in a format that works for you. It could be as fancy as a spreadsheet on the computer. Or as simple as collecting plant tags and keeping them for future reference.
Put all your plant tags and seed packages in terra cotta pots and display them on the bookshelves that hold your garden tomes. Or, make it really simple and stash them in a ziplock bag. They’re ready when you need them; all together in one place.
Or forget the tags and just use a highlighter to indicate your purchases right on the catalog pages; though that means a stack of catalogs taking up space down the road. I get a lot of my plants at a wonderful local nursery — The Flower Factory — which has phenomenal plant listings in their catalog, as you can see (below). I highlight what I want to buy and then put a red checkmark next to it when I actually buy the plant. Sometimes they’re out of what I want or I change my mind when faced with the plant in person and the checkmark keeps me from getting confused when I can’t find a highlighted plant in the garden.
These are the organizing and cataloging systems that work for me. Do you have a system you swear by or one that you swear at? Have you got it solved or have you given up keeping track? I’d love to hear about what works for you.