Question from Jim:
I’m trying to locate a gardening journal for my wife. She uses your book but would like to take notes and record information specific to our monthly garden needs. I’m hoping you can give me some ideas. Also, you may want to consider creating one to compliment your books. I know there is the gardeners almanac but this is a bit to generic and I don’t think they create one specifc for SO. CA. Plus they seem to specialize in growing vegetables from what I remember.
Answer from Pat:
Thank you for your idea. I will give it some thought. Some years ago my agent recommended that I might like to create a garden calendar or journal. My friend and colleague in England, the famous garden writer Penelope Hobhouse did a 5-year garden journal once and I think she did it the best way, leaving plenty of room for writing. She gave one to me and I use it for a bit and then forget. If you could find a copy of the Penelope Hobhouse 5-Year Garden Journal that is the one you might get since she didn’t fill it with a bunch of junk that nobody needs or wants. Try searching for it on line. This is a very small book, not a major gift, but I believe you can purchase it from Amazon.com (perhaps with a connection to England.) http://www.amazon.com/Gardeners-Journal-Penelope-Hobhouse/product-reviews/0711211884/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
For me to get such a journal written, planned, designed and published would all take much time. Thus, it would not be there soon enough to be of much use as a gift now when you are needing it. There is another aspect also which is that today publishers are cutting down on books rdue to the slow market. Everyone is experiencing having their book proposals turned down. Books are still selling but not in as great a number as in the past. We are in a new era of book publication and a new era of communications. Publishing is going in an entirely new direction.
The problem with most of the journal books on the market now is that they are filled with blanket-information that is either stuff anybody knows or that is no use since it’s better adapted to the east coast than here. Bed Bath and Beyond has a Garden Journal Book that looks pretty good since it has enough usable space. Mary Engelbreit has a fun one but it doesn’t provide much space for use. It’s more of a playful keepsake than anything else.
You might look at “The New Three Year Garden Journal: With Regional Garden Guides” by Louise Carter. However none of the information in it will be of any use to your wife. The regional garden guides are not useful, though the idea is good, the layout attractive, and photos pretty.
Another and I think better idea is this one: A Gardener’s Journal: Plan, Plant, Grow…Record the Results! (Spiral notebook.) This is pricey but the reviews of it are for the most part warmly admiring. Most reviewers praise it to the sky, one reviewer tears it apart at great length and in huge detail but largely since her own garden is unique. So, who knows? But it does look worth trying. I think this would make a very nice gift and far more substantial than the Hobhouse book. If I were in your shoes this is the one I would send for and you could be sure that you were offering your wife something that would work.
Please note: “A Gardener’s Journal: Plan, Plant, Grow…Record the Results!” comes in two formats: one is spiral bound, the other is published like a book. The spiral bound one would last longer and be more flexible. But if I were you I would read all the reviews before making up your mind. http://www.amazon.com/Gardeners-Journal-Grow-Record-Results/dp/B0017K4ZI0
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