I like to keep track of when my flowers bloom each year. I record the information on a simple horizontal bar graph, which I’ve attached as a sample bloom table. Of course flowering times for perennials in the garden vary from year to year, depending on the temperature, amount of sun and rain, etc. I find the spring plants especially can vary in their bloom time by quite a bit, depending on the weather. Still, it’s helpful to know about when to expect various flowers such as this Linum perenne (flax), for how long they bloom, and which other plants are flowering at the same time. Will the flowering time of those pink Dianthus caryophylus (carnations) on the left overlap the flowering L. perenne?
I make a simple table with a word processor, with the first column for the plant name and then columns labeled with the names of the months. I put the plant names in order according to when they start flowering, in rows starting at the top. I do this as I go, or by editing last year’s table. For each plant, I type a line across the cells, from left to right, corresponding to how long during the month it’s in bloom. If a plant starts blooming a quarter or halfway through the month, the line starts a quarter or halfway across the cell. It’s easy to mentally divide the cells into 4 sections for weeks. Then you can see in one glance, the cycle of flowering from the top left to bottom right.
The bloom table is useful to see the length of time different plants are in flower, by scanning across the rows sideways. It’s very easy then to visually sort the long bloomers from the short bursts of beauty.
You can also scan down the columns to see which flowers overlap their bloom time. Then you know if you have any hope of 2 plants blooming at the same time before transplanting them. As well, you see which months/weeks have lots of perennials and shrubs blooming, and which periods in the garden are more sparse, by scanning in a line down any month.
It’s a simple table, but very useful. It’s easy to see the bloom times in summer, when you’re standing in your garden, but the chart is helpful visualizing when you’re planning at different times. I’ve included a pdf attachment of my 2008 bloom table, as a sample of how it looks. The names are abbreviated to fit the cells.
The table only goes from May to September, because the rest of the months are usually white, both on the bloom table and on the ground. This could be why I have more time for record keeping. Do you like to keep track of the flowering times of your plants?
You can find another garden record keeping spreadsheet I use to keep track of all the other plant details in this other post.