“Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.” — Al Bernstein. 

“June is the gateway to summer!” — Jean Hersey. 

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” — Fred Devito.

It’s June-time, which means school’s out for the summer and the seasonal heat and drought are here.  Here are some helpful hints and support resources that will help you be more efficient in your landscape planning and maintenance.

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! Using digital devices in landscaping is being proactive!

Digital camera: One of the best tools to assist you in documenting landscape information is the digital camera on your smart phone. 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 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.

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 for installation and maintenance purposes.

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.

Bulb planting records: Supplement 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 during a certain timeframe. 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 where applications are to be made.

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 being amended or fertilized..

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. Follow current weather patterns on your smart phone or tablet.

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.

Think in terms of native and sustainable plants in the landscape. May this bit of awareness ignite your desire to learn and ask questions, encourage you to further apply your gained knowledge, and bring you to further realize that environmental stewardship and sustainability should be at the foundation of all your home landscape activities.

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. Also, be on the lookout for children playing and bicyclists riding along the streets and roadways throughout our communities. And remember to safely share the road with motorcycles. Look three times before entering the highway. Drive alert and arrive alive. Don’t drive distracted or impaired, and don’t text while driving. Click it or ticket! Help the homeless every chance you get. Share your blessings with those less fortunate. Let’s keep everyone safe and secure while enjoying the great outdoors. Next on the agenda, our mission trip to Peru (Jeremiah 29:11, Mark 16:15), as well as our teams in Bethlehem and Haiti. Please cover these missionaries in prayer as they go and do the Lord’s work in other cultures. Pray for all missions everywhere.

“We constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11.

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Romans 10:14. 

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:13.

Seagle is a Sustainability Associate, Golf Environment Organization (Scotland), Agronomist and Horticulturalist, CSI: Seagle (Consulting Services International), Professor Emeritus and Honorary Alumnus (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College), Distinguished Professor for Teaching and Learning (University System of Georgia) and Short Term Missionary (Heritage Church, Moultrie). Direct inquiries to csi_seagle @yahoo.com.