Visit your garden and use your five senses to assess it.
What do you see? Is your garden colorful? Is your pear tree finally bearing fruit? Are the tomatoes turning red? Take a closer look at the different parts of the plants. Check out the leaves. Are they vibrant, faded or yellow? Do you notice if any leaves have bite marks or holes? Are they curled up, spotted or dying back? Are there any insects flying by or crawling around? Which plants, and what part of plant, are they attracted to? Do you notice any buds forming on the plants or are flowers beginning to bloom?
What do you hear? Perhaps you hear the sound of bees buzzing from flower to flower, birds serenading or cawing? A hummingbird’s wings fluttering at super speed as it drinks nectar? Do you hear a rustling in the brush, as a lizard scatters? The crunch of dead leaves underpaw, as the neighborhood cat discovers a shady patch of grass by your zinnias?
What do you smell? Is that the aroma of jasmine floating by? Did you catch a whiff of well-amended soil? Smell like rain in the air? Get close, smell the basil, cilantro, rosemary and other kitchen herbs in your garden. While you’re at it, smell the geraniums too!
How does the garden feel? How soft are the petals, how sharp are the thorns? How firm are the peaches? Does the soil feel, damp, dry, compact? Does the wind brush against your face? Does the sun warm your cheek?
How does your garden taste? Pick a fresh sun-sweetened strawberry. Munch on a Golden Delicious apple. Bite into a juicy vine-ripened tomato.
Observing your garden not only helps you to assess the health of your garden, but is a way to plan your garden’s future. Try sitting in your garden at different times in the day. You will have a better sense of how much sunlight your plants get, notice the temperature fluctuations and will be able to see insects that might only come out during certain time of the day. Maybe you need to attract more beneficial insects to get rid of the pests attacking your squash leaves. Perhaps you won’t plant eggplant again, as it didn’t get enough sunlight to produce well. The string beans this year were delicious, so perhaps they’re a must do for the next planting season.
In addition to garden observations, try keeping a photo journal to watch your garden’s gradual and constant transformations. Doing both will help remind you of what works and what doesn’t, though the former allows you the time to relax and smell the roses. 🙂