Documenting Change in the Garden
Just as soon as this blasted snow melts, I will be out in the garden taking pictures. Even though there won't be a lot to look at here in southern New Hampshire in late March, I find a ton of value in documenting all seasons in the garden. I used to feel a bit foolish snapping pics of dirt with tiny shoots poking through the soil, but I now find myself constantly looking through prior years' archives to answer many burning gardening questions such as "where did I plant that Jack-in-the-pulpit last year and when does it bloom?" (click and hover on images in the gallery below for the answer!)
Being able to refresh my memory on where those stubbornly late-breaking ceratostigma plumbaginoides are planted, helps to ensure that I don't accidentally dig into what appears to be an "empty" space, just to realize that I've now disturbed the roots and crown of a plant that takes its good old time to appear in spring.
I also take photos of the garden while hanging out the second floor bathroom window that looks directly down onto my sunny southern exposure garden. This photo, taken at the garden's peak a couple years ago helps me identify design problems and to make notes of where to remove, move, thin or replace any particular specimen. (Many changes have been made to the garden below in the last couple years).
I use my Android phone to snap most docu-photos, so they are instantly and forever housed in the cloud and accessible from any device from my Google Photos account. This is the "love" part of my love/hate relationship with Google! (Apple users have iCloud)
I also have pics taken with my SLR and housed in Dropbox, but I really love the ease and convenience of Google Photos. A photo can quickly be named and cataloged into any folder(s) of my liking. A huge benefit is that Google automagically tags each pic with the date, time and location. This makes archiving and retrieving a breeze. I can also upload photos from my Dropbox account, desktop, or other file storage system to Google Photos, if desired. If you are like me and have years of photos all over creation, this is a great way to get yourself organized!!
In years past, I would make monthly rounds and snap 100+ pics of each garden bed from multiple angles. This year, I have vowed to step up the frequency of photos to a minimum of twice monthly. This may sound excessive, but you'll be amazed at how individual plants and the garden as a whole change from week to week. The images below document the change in my prized red-veined enkianthus tree with dwarf solomon's seal groundcover over a four week period. (click and hover for dates)