Petal, the Gardening Filo

If you read this post, you know that we had a lot of household items to take care of this summer.  I was itching to get it all done as quickly as possible, but sometimes you have to take your time and spread out the expenses and the tasks.  Thankfully, we got a good deal of our list completed.  And while we didn’t get everything done, we got to a point where we can pick up again next spring.

We cleared out our front garden and planted some new flowers and trees.

Our first plant purchase was two dwarf Japanese maples.

I have always wanted these little guys because of their beautiful red leaves.  But since we have such a small area to work with, we bought the dwarf variety.  They shouldn’t get too much taller than they are now, but they should fill out nicely, making for a “weeping” look.  Next spring we will plant some low-lying flowers to fill in the dirt better.

We also planted a few hostsa plants.

These actually came from out back garden.  We didn’t get to plant anything new back there, but we cleaned out the flowerbeds and transplanted these guys.  Next spring we will work on the back area, so for now, they are just dirt flowerbeds.

We also planted zinnias.

What I love about these is that the color is so bright.  It lightens up the front of our house, where most everything else is green.  Plus, they bloom from spring to fall, and as you can see, the colors are good for fall plants as well.  Though they are annuals, something we will have to plant every year, we love them and will probably plant the same thing next year.

That is where the planting stopped (and since we didn’t start until August, this was a pretty good dent in our planting to do list).  We did clear out another section of the front garden and we plan to plant Black-Eyed Susans there next year.  They can take over, but honestly, in some areas we are looking for something that is very low maintenance, which they are.  They also provide another pop of color, which is what we’re after.  But for now, since we didn’t get that far this summer, we bought some pots of mums, which are hanging out until the end of the fall.

From the shot from out front door, you can see we have some more trimming and pruning to do.

On the far end of the left side, we have some unknown-named-to-me bush.  In front of that we have lily of the valley.  They bloom only for a short time at the beginning of spring, and the rest of the summer they are just green leaves.  But the scent the blooms gives off is heavenly, a welcome thing after a long winter.  Plus, they were my grandmother’s favorite, and so I like to keep them for that reason.

On the right at the far end we have Montauk daises.  These guys bloom in September (they are just starting to bud now) and the rest of the time they are green-leaved plants.  I like daisies, and since Montauk is a Long Island landmark (and not too far from where I live), I like to have them for that reason, too.

There is some more lily of the valley in front of the daisies, and an empty space in front of that, which we need to deal with next year as well.

With all of this said, I am by no means a gardener.  In fact, while I have always liked the idea of gardening, I never looked into it. It’s something we talk about doing every year but just never make time for.  But necessity is the mother of invention and all that—it wasn’t until we needed to deal with our plants that we actually bit the bullet and did so.

Seeing as we don’t have a ton of space for plantings (we live in a townhouse and so only have small flowerbeds), nor do we have a ton of time to devote to a proper garden, we came up with some ideas for plantings that we could easily do and easily maintain.  But as with anything in my life, I needed to make it into a project.

Enter Petal.

This binder was released by Filofax a few years ago.  I bought (or traded, I don’t remember) this one from a friend with the sole intension of putting it to use as a gardening binder.  But that was a couple of years ago, and I’m only now setting it up.

You can see the Filofax branding on the inside cover:

It comes with this lovely sheet, on top of which I added a flyleaf for protection.

I created my own tabs.

I created this binder of plant information so that come next spring, I can easily keep track of our ideas and implementations, as well as care information for each plant.

Section 1 – Layout

I created a little layout for both the front and back garden areas.  Anything in color is a permanent planting.  Any section that has a blank box is what needs to be planted in the future.  Anything that is a perennial (something that returns each year) will be a color.  Something like the zinnia that we have to plant every year get a blank box, to which I will add the plant name once we’ve decided.  We have some ideas for those areas already, but I will wait to fill in my template until we’ve officially decided.

Section 2 – Ideas

Currently, I don’t have anything here, but I will jot down our ideas as we get closer to spring planting.  We might need to come up with a few ideas for each section since some plants have specific requirements (all-day sun, partial shade, etc.) that may or may not be met depending on where the location is.  From a few ideas we can choose the best plant for each location.

Section 3 – To Do

Here I have to do lists.  When I started researching the plants we currently have, I kept my list here.

Section 4 – Finances

I don’t know that I will use this section, but in case I do, I have financial sheets to write down how much each plant costs for future reference. 

Section 5 – Notes

A section for various notes and additional notepaper.

Section 6 – Flower Information

Behind this tab, I have the A-Z tabs.  This is where I keep track of the care of each plant we have.  It gets filed under the letter that corresponds to the plant name, making it easy to find what I’m looking for.

Finally, I have a clear pocket/pencil holder at the back of the binder.

The little pocket comes in handy for storing those little tags that come in plans that list the care of the plant.  I pull those out and put them in the pocket until I have time to transfer the information into the Flower Information section.  The little pencil holder is great too!

And because this binder is not made of leather or anything expensive, I can take it outside or to the plant shop with me.  If it gets a little dirty, it’s not big deal.

Clearly this binder won’t help me become a great gardener, but it will help me to get started.  And once I have more plants in the ground, I can maintain and not have to spend so much time and money figuring out what to plant next.  Everything recorded in the Petal makes it that much easier the next planting season.


  1. I love this! I can say, firsthand, that the pictures don't even do the garden justice. It looks great! Zinnias are a great choice, they are such a happy flower, and they remind me of daisies, which are the happiest of flowers! I have a binder for gardening too, but I'm still on just rose bushes for now, so I hope to eventually plant more and put it to good use. And... for when I do put it into full use, I have printed out pictures of all of the flowers (along with the information) I may one day use, for even easier reference. Happy Planting! :)

    1. Yes, I am loving the zinnia. I just noticed today that they're starting to lose their color, as in they're not as vibrant. But they still make me happy. Even better: the hubby likes them too!

    2. We need some color in our yard too, we just have green and mulch! It's great when the hubby can appreciate pretty things, it means they will help next year too!

  2. My previous garden "binder" was a program...that got lost when I switched computers a few years ago. I have no idea which roses are planted in my yards let alone what was planted where. I wish that I had thought to use a binder on paper instead. I like your garden journal. It is giving me good ideas for planting next year.

    1. Oh no! How frustrating. I think that's why, although I love technology for many things, I'm leery of trusting it for others. Hence my love of paper for many things. I'm glad I can give you some ideas for next year. :)


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