Some years ago when we lived on Pratt Hill Road in Spencertown, NY, one of our neighbors had a historical document in her attic. Up on the second floor, under the eves in the storage area, someone had kept a written diary on the walls. Notations such as “April 24th – First bobolink spotted” and “September 15th – first hard frost” were listed. It was a mystery who kept this attic diary, and why it was written almost out of sight in the rafters.
There are some people who get pleasure out of keeping annual records. Over the years many farmers have written diaries that document frosts, rainfall and planting dates. Such diaries provide a window into how the weather and climate has changed because some of these records were kept before this data was being formerly collected.
Some gardeners keep similar notes along with their lists of plants used in the garden, animals sited and other significant events in the natural world. I have to admit that I’ve never been one of these record-keepers unless you count the blog posts I’ve written over the recent years. (Side note: this brings another thought to mind. Wouldn’t it be great if somewhere, someone collected blog posts so that these first-person records would be kept even after those websites were long gone?)
It occurred to me today that many of us keep a visual diary on our phones or computer photo libraries. I was scrolling through my pictures today, looking for a fall shot of the plant I’m featuring on the radio tomorrow, when I noticed that in 2015 we had a killing frost much earlier in October.
Those who regularly photograph their plants and gardens are keeping records through the years. We can use those photos to compare weather, plant growth, what has thrived in particular years and more.
Is your garden diary written, visual or non-existent?