Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Project: So Much More Than A Plant List

Last winter I attempted, lamely, to build a plant list using google docs. I have several spread sheets that I began but now they are ignored. I don't know about you, but I find spread sheets thoroughly boring (even if they are helpful). This may be the reason why I lost my enthusiasm for completing and updating my plant list. That, and it really is a daunting, time-consuming task!

But all is not lost! My eyes were recently treated with one word posted on our local garden club facebook page from an article featured in our local, weekly newspaper in the "zucchini lady's" column. That word is PlantJotter. PlantJotter is an online program designed exclusively for gardeners! Unlike google docs, there is a yearly fee, but so far I am thinking it is very worth it. The price to join for a year is $21 US, $45 for three years. They offer a 30 day free trial of which I have taken advantage of and eight days into it, I am already sold.

Aside from uploading all your plants complete with pictures, you can enter locations, tasks, and journal entries. This appeals to me because I can assign my own personal locations to plants, i.e. the Bird & Butterfly garden, which is how I tend to organize my growing list of plants.

And I love the journal entry feature because now instead of printing some page online, ripping out a magazine article, writing a note on a Post-it® ... I can simply add a journal entry for any ideas I have or that I come across. Do you have piles of notes, copies, articles, plant tags stashed around? Hmmm? I can even paste links (or copy) right into my journal entries.

Tasks will be very helpful. I have already entered that I want to cut back my sedums and heleniums in late spring so they are not so floppy this year. Now I have a reminder right in front of me with a due date! I will be able to put in tasks for succession planting as well.

For all of these features just mentioned, I can assign tags so essentially I am creating my own little garden database.

I have faith that PlantJotter will store all my data safely but they do offer an option to back up all your information. You can even export information into a spread sheet program like excel. (But why? Yawn.)

A couple of other things I will mention is that your uploaded photo files cannot exceed 5 MB. For those of you with those super duper digital cameras that I long for, I am not sure if this might be an issue. The majority of my photos are under 5 MB so this works for me. Plant entries allow you to search their already existing database for plants you may own, but you may also put in your specific cultivar. You can enter the size of your plants in inches, feet or meters but those are the only available units of measurement for now. However, for each plant entry there is a place for notes. You can put PlantJotter on your wish list – gift certificates are available.

I think I may be able to put my box of plant tags to rest. Although well organized, I still have to shuffle through everything to find what I'm looking for.

If you have been meaning to start an official plant list or master plan, consider PlantJotter. Click here to go to their website if you are interested in learning more. There is a facebook page for PlantJotter as well. Happy planning. I think I will finally finish my plant list so yay, I'm happy!


  1. This sounds like an exciting tool. I do use a spreadsheet, but I know they're not everyone's cup of tea. (Far from being bored by spreadsheets, I was once described by an administrative assistant as a person "who never met a problem that couldn't be solved by creating a spreadsheet." lol) Your discussion of the kinds of information and material you can include in PlantJotter, though, made me realize I could enhance my spreadsheet by scanning the tag for each plant I add to my garden and uploading that image into the spreadsheet. Why didn't I ever think of that before?!? BTW, my Canon digital camera came with a photo editing program that includes an "export" command that allows you to save down your files to a smaller size with lower resolution. I use this for the images on my blog; they're typically less than 1 MB.

  2. That does sound like a great idea. I have bags and stacks and piles of plant tags. I was just looking at them in the shed. I keep meaning to get mine all listed somewhere so I don't have to go outside to remember the name of a plant. This sounds like a good thing to do on a rainy winter day.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this system! This has been a task on my to do list for the longest time but it is just so overwhelming! This seems manageable.

  4. Very nice that you find a system that works for you. Keeping track of plants can get out of hand

  5. Oh, that does sound neat. I'm a spreadsheet girl, but I like the idea of having pictures & everything else I might possibly think of to add!

  6. That program does sound great. My husband keeps a journal and refers to it but it's not very efficient.

    As far as plant tags go, I keep a stapler in my garden shed. Each area or section of the yard is divided up between the studs of the interior of the shed. I then staple one plant tag in the appropriate section so I know what's planted where. This system has worked really well (you can still hang tools and stuff on the wall with the plant tags behind if you run our of room).


  7. Sounds like a great system; I keep thinking I'm going to compile a plant list, too, but so far I haven't done it...

  8. Hi TVF, this program sounds fantastic. I made my list using Bento part of Filemaker because they had a format for gardeners. For the info I used Wikipedia and other websites. It was quite hard work and I got sick of it at times. The only drawback to Bento is that I don't seem to be able to copy the photos I imported into it. Good luck to you - fellow lister! cheers cm


Thank you for joining me in my garden in the making!

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