I've always considered VP Gardens as my first true garden even though we've lived in several places previously. It's the first time I've felt truly inspired by a space and wanting to do the best for it.
I wasn't that knowledgeable about gardening when we moved here and having a completely blank canvas I was worried I wouldn't manage to design the planting to have something of interest in every month.
So I came up with the pictured garden checklist (click to enlarge it if you want to see the detail) and put my provisional plant list down the side and the months of the year across the top. What you see is just one of several pages and this one covers the shrub side of things.
The blue crosses show the flowering season and the red writing any leaf colour or berry season. It was then an easy task to look down each month and identify the gaps. I'd also marked each plant with its height (in silver by its name, plus whether it's deciduous or evergreen in green), so I could choose additional plants with the right height and season of interest and ensure things weren't too evergreen heavy.
Once I was happy with my list, I used purple crosses to show all the months where I'd need to prune or tidy particular plants. I also used the notes area on the right to write up additional care requirements and anything else of note such as particular pests to watch out for. Thus my plant checklist also doubles up as a maintenance guide, where I can see at a glance the main jobs I need to do each month.
This was devised in 2000. Nowadays I'd set it all up on a spreadsheet so it can easily be maintained to reflect plant deaths and new additions. I'm going to set up something similar for my allotment over the winter as part of my revised plot plan. Many companies give away vegetable planners, but they never quite reflect what I grow, especially as I have so many different kinds of fruit. It's going to be great to have a plan which not only shows seed sowing, planting out and harvest times, but also reflects the key tasks such as apple training and applying grease bands. I can also adjust the plan to show what tends to happen on my plot and using the resources I have to hand.
Do you have a similar plan for your garden? Or perhaps you've designed something else to help with your gardening activities. Do tell me in the Comments below.
For a quirky & eclectic look at gardening: http://vegplotting.blogspot.com More than a load of old vegetables!