December and January can be months of retrospection and contemplation for gardeners. Most of the outdoor work is done and the winter weather usually prevents any more until the big thaw and early spring arrives. No matter how good our gardens were last year, we always plan for a better next season, and we reflect on how things were this past season. A good way to remember your garden successes and failures is to simply record what you did and what happened as a result.
My fairly meticulous garden records started in 1985 while living in Houston, Texas. Horticultural curiosity and the desire to monitor spending fostered my documenting landscape plants and vegetables for the garden, plus how they performed under my care. Each season there was a listing of each plant by botanical and common name, cost, location where planted, and whether it grew to my expectations. At season end, I evaluated plantings as keepers or killers showing no mercy to those that failed to do what I expected. Success demands a keen sense of discrimination and a firm resolve to discard all things that do not measure up.