The forest garden: it’s about time

It’s about time forest gardening reached a wider audience. Nevertheless, a garden is also about time; a seasonal, cyclical time. Herein lies some temporal whimsy…

Journal with the title “One Line a Day: A Five Year Memory Book”
The latest craze in journals is diary entries that span multiple years. Good for gardeners!

It started with a tweet by @AmielWayne :

I was inspired to make a forest garden calendar, although rather predictably this hasn’t happened in time for 2019. I thought it would be fun to ask for forest garden photo contributions, and then crowdfund the production of the calendars (a single calendar costs about £15 each from someone like VistaPrint).

Sketch of wall calendar

My imagined forest garden calendar

And then my eye was caught by the one line a day, five year memory book. This is such a simple and elegant idea—one day, repeated across five years. So when you write your entry, you have instant recall across the years. I think this would be ideal for gardeners, noting the small details such as flowering times, extreme weather events, notable achievements. As you may have noticed, I keep a web log but I find it hard to navigate back through the years.

Inside page of the one line a day, five year memory book

This is how it works—one day, repeated across five years

And then, whilst gardening I took to thinking. (This happens a lot.) How about a single, composite photo of the forest garden year?

Sketch of composite photo calendar year, months marked up

My imagined photo calendar year

That doesn’t really work for me, the months don’t read well vertically. So, how about an online 5 year photo memory diary? Each day you enter a new photo, you’re shown the photo that you published one, two, three years ago.

Sketch of two photos on the same day, separated by a year

My imagined online photo memory diary

Ah, but time, particularly in the garden, has a seasonally cyclical nature. Time in a circle, revisiting the same but different places known as months.

Months in a circle divided by 12

My imagined time in a circle

The trouble with this is that 16:9 ratio photos just don’t sit well in a 1/12th slice of pie. Also, how do you signify the passing of time over the years? I feel a spiral coming on, a mobius strip-like spiral, revisiting the same but different places.

A spiral, passing through the same months on the way up

My imagined time spiral

The point is that just a simple idea, like the 5 year memory book, can dramatically alter how you view and remember your garden. Time is not an arrow but a spiral, and there is so much more scope than just the linear representations of “traditional” digital photo albums.

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