GEORGIA CLIPPINGS: Going digital in the landscape – Moultrie Observer

Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2015 2:29 pm

GEORGIA CLIPPINGS: Going digital in the landscape

By Eddie Seagle, Ed.D.
Special to The Observer

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” John Lubbock.

Welcome summer as the first day of the summer season is today, June 21. And we thought summer was already here, with all the high temps we have been experiencing. Pace yourself in this summer heat and don’t get too hot.

Digital gardening journals are very important in documenting items of importance in the landscape. Whether the information is about the placement of a bulb, the color of a flower, the much-wanted plant from across town, an enrichment item that you like, a particular creative design that catches your attention, the amount of rainfall last week, and so on, it is critical to realize such information to better improve how you design and maintain your landscape sites. If not recorded, then the potential for loss of such information is greater and makes your landscaping efforts more difficult! Going digital in the landscape is being proactive!

Digital camera: One of the best tools to assist you in documenting landscape information is the digital camera. This instrument is so useful and allows you to digitally document such information as taking pictures of bulbs, flower color so vivid this season on select plants, or photographing a plant that you have seen elsewhere and want in your garden. Also, such photos serve as a reminder about an enrichment item or garden design that catches your attention, locally or globally.

Also, taking pictures of weeds, insects or diseases for identification purposes or photographing a chemical label for your records can be priceless. Using the digital camera for recordkeeping anything and everything from A to Z is such an asset to the home gardener. Always transfer your pictures from the digital camera to an organized folder on your computer hard drive, as well as making a backup. Certain pictures may also be kept in your camera if you need to access them often for quick reference in other situations.

And keep additional charged batteries and memory cards on hand just in case you might need them at the least suspected time and place. Keep your digital camera with you at all times too (smart phones work as well).

Bulb orders: Keep a record of what and when you ordered, arrival date, and the supplier name, address, website and phone number. Upon arrival, inspect your bulbs for quantity and quality. Were they the size you requested and purchased. Once the bulbs are planted, you have no recourse. Therefore, bulbs that arrive in poor condition should be returned to the supplier for a credit or refund.  Be sure that your supplier is a reputable dealer and is not a scam.

Flowering records: An accurate assessment of flowering will allow you to maintain color throughout each season of the year, not just a single season or part of a season. If weaknesses or deficiencies in color appear within a season, such notes will allow correction for the next season or year. If too much color and confusion (smorgasbord effect) distorts the image wanted at one time, then necessary corrections are in order and can be implemented next season or year.

GPS devices: Hand held GPS devices have usefulness in the landscape as they can assist you in determining the sizes of lawn areas and landscape beds in installation and maintenance situations.

Information content: Any type of recordkeeping is an asset to the landscape gardener. The best system is the one that is most user-friendly and easy to access. Drawing sketches on graph paper and making written notes can also be digitally recorded and appropriately filed for future reference.

Planting records: Supplement these notes with plot diagrams and pictures indicating the variety and number of bulbs in each location. This exercise will assist you in estimating the success of each type and calculating the effects of the weather. Also, keep records for all herbaceous and woody planting activities.

Photograph records: Photographs make very effective records. Each photograph should include the date, time, location, special notations, etc. This type of information will become more valuable as you plan each successive season.

Pruning: You may digitally document a specific pruning style or technique on a particular plant or group of plants and share with your landscape contractor in order to achieve that shape and form in your landscape.

Pesticide records: Keep a record of all pesticides used in the landscape. Note the trade name, date, target pest, rate of application, and weather conditions at the time of application. Always follow label directions and file a copy of the label for future reference. Calculate and record the total square feet of lawn and bed areas.

Seasonal inspirations: In May you may observed an environment in your landscape that needs a splash of color such as provided by marigolds, but by the time you get around to shopping for them or your flower catalog arrives in September, the spot may be filled with late blooming plants. At this point you will be hard-pressed to remember such a spring inspiration without appropriate documentation, such as a digital journal.

Soil amendments and fertilizers: Record the date, rate of application, analysis, equipment used, liming information, soil tests, results and recommendations, etc. Also, record the weather conditions at the time of application. Calculate and record the total square feet of lawn and bed areas.

Weather: Record such weather information as the last frost in the spring and the first frost in the fall each year, unusually warm or cold weather, storm information and damage, precipitation rates and dates, and very unusual weather phenomena.

Reputable ideas: Attach significant articles, notes, websites, newspaper clippings, etc. to your journal files. Select and attend appropriate seminars and short courses for increased learning opportunities. Know who and when to call for assistance. As you place more information into your records, you will gain a more valuable output through improved quality and curb appeal of your landscape.

May the results of your immediate efforts be long-lasting so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor for seasons to come. Think sustainability! Keep your hanging baskets and potted plants refreshed with water and food. Remember to feed and water the songbirds, and give your pets the care they need (do not leave them unattended in a hot car or tied to a tree all day long). Also, be on lookout for children playing along the streets and roadways throughout our communities this summer. Let’s keep everyone safe! Happy Father’s Day weekend!

Many thanks to all who read this column which is an effort to provide each reader with timely and useful information. It is a small contribution on my part in “paying it forward” to my readers. Please keep our mission team in your prayers as we prepare for our discipleship journey into the Andes Mountains of Peru.

“May the God of peace, …that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will.” Hebrews 13:20-21.

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Sunday, June 21, 2015 2:29 pm.


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