How do I remember all the things I see in the garden?

Keeping a Nature Journal

Today was cold and very windy when I got to the garden.  I was sure I would not see much change since it had only been a week and the weather had been cold and not very nice.   I am thinking plants don’t grow very much when it is cold.  Well, I was wrong.

Once spring comes the wildflowers and bushes just keep growing and changing.  There was so much happening with the plants I just couldn’t keep track of all that I was seeing.  There were so many new plants, flowers, and bushes with buds on them.   How am I going to remember all of them?  I had so many questions I wanted to ask but I was the only one in the garden right then.

So I asked myself, “What do the botanists do when they have lots of information to remember or when they have questions they want to learn about?  What do they do when they are out in the field working?  (“out in the field” means working outdoors away from books and computers where you can look things up)

They keep a notebook or journal where they write down what they see, hear and have questions about.  It can have information about what is happening, lists of plants and animals, drawings and questions they want to look up later.

Here are two pages from student journals:

Student nature journal

Drawing and asking questions

I started mine with a plain notebook I got at a drug store.  Each time I am at the garden I start by putting a note at the top of the page that includes the following:

  • Date, and time I went to the garden.  (Since my journal is about one place I put the location on the first page but if your journal is traveling with you be sure to say where you are each time you write in your journal)
  • Weather – Example: cold, windy, temperature is 35 or sunny, light breeze and 72 degrees

 Then I write about what I see, what I am wondering about, I add pictures that I draw to help me remember what I saw.

This week my journal is full of questions – I saw so many plants I did not have names for.  I wonder what their names are?  Who named them?  Did someone plant them here?   Here are pictures of two of them:  Can you help me find the names for them?

small leaf plant

white flowers

Tell me what you saw and wrote about in your journal this week?

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Garden Learning, journals, Reflections and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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