Ever forget where you planted things?

mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)January 13, 2014

So I was stewing in a nice, hot, relaxing bath with a gardening catalog (one of my favorite winter pastimes...), and it hit me - I already have some of these plants but forgot where I planted them! I blame it on the patio rebuild late last summer and the ensuring buying frenzy at the end of season sales. I know where I planted groupings of things, but a few plants like gentian that I only bought one of I can't remember where I planted. Plus, I can't remember some of the "one-of" things I bought! Guess I'll be in for some surprises this season! LOL!

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This happens to me ALL THE TIME and with greater frequency as our perennial beds are too full

It is most apparent when said plantS do not return in the spring. If a plant appears I can generally figure out what it is. But after a long winter, to recall what plant that no longer exists...is or even worse, that a plant actually was there can be problematic.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 10:40AM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

I'm sure this is going to sound like a wishy-washy answer, but it depends.

On the whole I have a fairly good grasp of where everything is located.

It does kind of seem like those plants that were impulse buys or plants I didn't intend to get have the greater likelihood of my mentally misplacing them though.

Plants that I ended up moving suddenly (as compared to a long thought out and totally pre-meditated moving) can get lost in the shuffle too.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 12:53PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Yea, I'm normally very good at remembering where I put things - I don't need a drawing/map of my garden, I know where everything is and I can visualize it in my head, even knowing how many of X-plant I planted in that area. But last fall I bought on the spot just to try, just for the heck of it on clearance sales and just stuck them in here and there in a massive hurry just to get them in the ground. Oh well, like I said - will be some pleasant surprises!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 1:35PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Because I was unfamiliar with so many of the plants that I ws from traded seed I needed to make maps of my gardens for a few years until I could recognize that they weren't weeds. Some days when I am watching TV I will go through my plant folders and jot down a few notes about how the plant has grown/bloomed during the year. Occasionally my note is "Where is this plant? Look for it." Usually It is found but sometimes it has disappeared. Maps are no longer updated unless a bed is completely redone.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 2:03PM
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Like Rouge, I take various routine actions to maintain the identities of purchased perennial cultivars. Still some problems always occur.

Rouge covers one big problem; namely, ID'ing winter losses.

I do, however, find it even more difficult ID'ing cultivars that go MIA after spring.

Planting perennials close and having spring, summer and fall perennials in the same beds means some plants die in shaded anonymity. It's easy to track some spring plants in fall (at least for me, when the flower beds are cleared up). Some spring perennials even remain green under the snow.

But some in situ plants (planted in previous years) disappear (= die) between spring and the end of the growing season.

With some large, long-lived and in-your-face perennials, it is easy to note their subsequent absence from a mixed perennial bed. For many perennials I don't find the same, particularly when larger numbers of cultivars of the same plant are involved.

As Rouge indicates, there's a problem with recording absences rather than presences. I can say from a scientific (anatomical) research point of view, it's usually (but only usually) quite easy to record the presence-absence of minor structures.

Recording presences-absences in a closely packed perennial bed is quite another matter.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 2:10PM
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Campanula UK Z8

That horrible feeling when the spade chomps through a fat bulb! So familiar. Have failed, every year, to attempt anything like a map (too many, too much, too changeable) so every year, there are numerous surprises as forgotten plants re-emerge in spring.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 4:11PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

Heck, no. I always remember where I plant things. If I remember the plant, I know where it is. The problem arises when I forget I bought plants. Then three months down the calendar I may pull it up because it looks like a weed. :P I should replace that Echium russicum...

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 5:12PM
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I've never planted bulbs on top of each other...or right next to each other, or sliced a bulb with a shovel, or found a bulb in my diggings leftover from planting something.
Similarly never decapitated a subterranean crown while trying to overcrowd my plantings.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 6:31PM
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I love forgetting what I've planted or sowed. Part of what makes all this fun are the little surprises. I'm always prepared for loss so when something comes up that I forgot about its a success in my book.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 11:33PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

My memory is perfect, it's just the plants keep moving.... Right? I started doing a lot more digging in the fall with a pitchfork rather than spade. In my experience a pierced bulb has a better chance of recovering than one sliced in half, and every now and then a bulb comes up jammed perfectly between two tines..... just put it right back in the ground and pretend it never happened!
Any good mapping ideas? I've been burying labels with things and doing the map thing, but the onesies moved or planted here and there always do me in.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 9:48PM
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    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 11:11PM
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Kato, mapping of mixed perennial beds: different perennial gardeners often seem to label in different ways; understandable because no single way seems to always work.

I draw maps of plants in sections of flower beds at the time of a planting, and also photograph beds in sections approximately every two weeks. I also keep and file the plant labels.

Using planting maps and i-photo I can more or less keep on top of cultivar identification.

As you'd assume, the challenge is often not in distinguishing between different types of plants, but in distinguishing between different cultivars of the same plant.

It's also easier to maintain the identification of long lived perennials (often simple inspection is enough) than those that typically just hang around for three or four years and need replacing.

This post was edited by SunnyBorders on Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 22:08

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 10:07PM
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I'll (somewhat ashamedly) admit....I have a little map. I started them out on graph paper just to help me to do some light preplanning - just to help put the sizes of the beds and plants into perspective - and just kept it as a reference so should I forget where or what something is I'd have something to look back on. But that's only good if kept up to date which I can safely say that it hasn't been. I'm not one for surprises but I can handle a few when it comes to where a cranesbill or phlox might pop up.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 5:56AM
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David883 refers to the effect of seeding and running on trying to maintain cultivar identification using maps.

I do my best to avoid seeders and runners in mixed perennial beds, for that and a more obvious reason. When seeding and running do occur, it's usually the seeders which are the bigger (identification) problem.

Occasionally, however, a seeder seems so distinctive and so attractive that I do keep the seedlings; e.g. the Japanese primulas ('Miller's Crimson'), June 11, 2013, below.

There's a couple of great blue lobelia seedlings (to weed out), in the picture, as well.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 4:11PM
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