I actually do the following things all year long, but winter is when I have the down time to really immerse myself in all the paperwork of gardening. I unearth all my scribbles on scraps of paper where I've noted plants to buy and plant combos to try. Winter is when I start a new garden journal and make i.d. cards for all the plants I've just ordered on line.
I don't know if any other Wisconsin gardeners do these things or how many gardeners anywhere do them. But if you've been reading this blog since its early days then you know that I have records going back to the beginning of the garden in the early 1990s. I just began Volume Twenty of my garden journals.
Every plant has its own index card that tells where and when I bought it, what it cost and where it's planted. I love knowing that the row of Euonymous europaeus 'Aldenhamensis' trees on the west side of the house came from the old Heronswood Nursery and cost $8.00 each. They were about the size of my closed fist when I bought them and now reach above the roof.
This degree of documentation probably sounds excessive, bordering on compulsive. But as someone who spent years writing about gardens in print media and giving numerous presentations on the subject, I needed to know the identity of every plant in my garden that I wrote and talked about, as well as where people might buy one like it. My copious records answered all the questions anyone might ask. It's been years since I really needed to keep these kinds of records, but once I started I found I enjoyed it too much to stop.
Ask me anything. I can give you all the details of the recent driveway project, like the fact that more than 500 tons of material was moved in and out during the construction. Ninety tons of rocks and pavers are visible in the finished landscape and a similar amount's buried. The garden has 224 trees and shrubs. Cool, huh?! Or crazy . . .