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Keeping tabs on what is in the garden.


When I first started my garden I did not own a computer. Instead any handy piece of paper was good enough to jot down the news I had. This disappeared in to a “SAFE PLACE”. I am having a clearout and unearthed this page from that place. I think this is a page cut from an old exercise book. The detail provides interesting walks down memory lane.
Hopetoun Gardens is now New Hopetoun Garden Centre. Dougal Philip started his business in the walled garden on Hopetoun Estate. When the Hope family decided to take the walled garden back he negotiated a new site near the A904. It is more easily accessible for customers and he and his wife Lesley, you might know of her as a presenter on BBC’s Beechgrove programme, have more space to display their ever widening range of plants and garden accessories etc. It is in a woodland setting and they display all the gardening scenarios you might find eg.shade, partial sun,full sun, water features, building ideas and the materials to achieve most things you can dream of doing.
Kirkcaldy GC is still in the same place but the enterprising owner has bought a second GC near Stirling.
Maybury GC has now graduated through a series of warehouse stores to become a large b&m store. They sell interesting gardening requisites like the small pots I use for growing seedlings.
Parkgrove GC is now a residential site.
B&Q in Grangemouth is still there and sells reasonably priced annuals, HPs, shrubs as well as a full range of DIY materials.
Aberforth GC was sold to another GC which was on the old Stirling road out of Larbert. The new owners sold off the old site for residential buildings and have knocked down the old GC buildings and replaced them with a new purpose built store. Raised beds house a lot of plants and they do DIY materials.
There are only 20 plants on this list but there are 6/7 GC which have moved around a bit. Fortunately the plants on the list have survived except for the Abelia, the Tamarisk and the Buddleia Globosa. I mentioned I had lost it and Karensusan sent me a B.Sungold which is thriving.
History is grand but I need to try and keep up with what is happening to specific plants in my garden. As I now own a computer I decided to start a Powerpoint Presentation to keep a record of what I grow.

As you can see I take photos of plants before they are planted eg. the allium bulbs. As it grew so did the Presentation. It got so unwieldy that I had to separate the different types of plants and have one for bulbs,corms and tubers, another for trees and shrubs, a third for HP. I can see me having one for each species before I am finished and it is time consuming. When I had to get help from a recently graduated gardener I was floored when he asked for a list of the plants in the garden so that he could research them to learn more. Powerpoint was no good as I have done the research and because there are so many none of it is “find a plant” as in a catalogue. I thought Excel would work. What do you think?

I am still playing around with the layout and find the “Insert” and “cut and paste” facilities make it very easy to keep plants in an alphabetical list on any page. Each letter of the alphabet has a dedicated page. The headings are a bit untidy because I used the info on the labels that came with the plants. Each page may start with a different heading depending on what the nursery deemed to be most important. When I find the time, ‘what is that, I’m retired so run off my feet 24/7’, I will decide what is most important to me. In case all this technology goes down I have made a back up but from now on every label will be secreted in a nice folder bearing the initial of the plant.
None of this is the perfect solution for someone with a brain as disorganised as mine but I feel it will work for me if I keep it up to date.

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I too have all this and I have folders for many genera as like you I have several species. Same with my photo records. I regularly back the computer files up and save to an external hard drive.
I also have details on the 'old fashioned' index cards. so easy to keep alphabetical and add extra info.
I also use the plant list facility on here which is alphabetical.

12 Feb, 2018


You are very organised doing this. I think it's good to keep a record.

12 Feb, 2018


Sbg I do wish I had started doing this much earlier. I know I have lots of plants in the garden but had no idea that I had quite so many. As some disappear underground for months on end I found that a serious drawback when I needed help. The thought of a rookie digging up a precious bulb that cost a lot is unbearable. It is bad enough having to put up with the birds, squirrels and slugs doing damage but it is totally unacceptable to pay someone to do it. You seem to be very well organised. Is this nature or nurture?
Hywel this state of organisation is very recent. As I get older I tend to forget names of more recent acquisitions and where I sourced them so in a way I am doing it for the sake of my sanity. It is impossible to go trawling through boxes of saved labels in the hope of finding that name that escapes me. My study is looking more like it did 5 or 10 years ago as I bring the chaos under control. I can see I am going to have to have a clear out of books too. I now plant precious plants in pond baskets and plunge them in to the garden. It means if we do have to move we can take them with us or the children can take them if we are no longer here. I get a lot of pleasure from my garden and I would not be happy if it fell in to the wrong hands in the future. I was brought up to believe we only look after the earth for future generations so fingers crossed this little bit of heaven will be safe. Once I started on the Excel data base I find it very easy to look after. I can see the Powerpoint photos will be good as back up. It is a cheap and easy way to keep them for future reference compared to the cost of having them printed and saved in albums. Looking at them on a laptop means I can see them anywhere and bigger than a printed photo. The need to be organised came about because of my love affair with seeds from the SRGC seed exchange and growing plants which can take a year or two to germinate then up to seven years to get to flowering stage. The learning curve has been a steep one but very satisfying. Knowledgeable GOY members have been very helpful in this transition from growing mainly shrubs.

12 Feb, 2018


I need to copy you Scotsgran. I have tried keeping a record many times over the years, but unsuccessfully.
At the moment though it is difficult with things as they are here.

12 Feb, 2018


Breathless with admiration Scotsgran! I just have scrappy notes , my increasingly bad memory and a box of labels...

12 Feb, 2018


OH has folders of plants that are in the garden. Lots are unusual so any prospective buyer of our property needs to know what is there. We also have many, many photo albums of the field it once was and the developing garden. Lots of photos of individual bloom. I am trying to get my OH to dispose of many photos but he's being stubborn. I have been reading and following Marie Kondo, the Japanese author of a great de-cluttering book. She advocates. "If it brings you joy, keep it!." Now that mantra is being used against me!

The prices we paid for plants make very interesting reading!

12 Feb, 2018


Steragram you describe what I had before I started doing this. Well done you for keeping your labels. They and your notes will be a great help if you decide to make your own list.
I am with Marie Kondo 100% but I'm sure she would sympathise with my desire to make it easier to find plants in an alphabetical list. I have tried to make a map of the garden naming each section and at some future date I will marry up the plants with their location. My reason for the Powerpoint Presentation for keeping photos means I can track them from year to year and see what is thriving and what is not. I'm full of good ideas just not so good at keeping up with the work.
I think the prices paid then and now bear some relation to the popularity of the different styles of gardening being adopted by home gardeners. If there is a demand for a specific plant the price rises then as more are produced the price drops.

12 Feb, 2018


I admire your tenacity Scotsgran. You mustn't give up now!!

14 Feb, 2018


I will keep trying Eirlys. It is the SRGC Early Bulb Day on Saturday 17th in Dunblane so I will be going to that. I will probably need to add some more plants when I get home. Speakers are the wonderful Jānis Rukšāns from Latvia and "new" speaker, Mat Murray from Australia plus displays and plant sales Victoria Hall, Dunblane FK15 9EX 10am -4pm All welcome!!
The train stops opposite the hall and there is well sign posted car parking. If you are within travelling distance of Dunblane on Saturday do come along.

15 Feb, 2018

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