Tag Archives: spreadsheet

Plant spreadsheet

September is all about inventory or time to update the plant spreadsheet at “Le Jardin du Markowski”.

I pray to God I got that right or my father, a former high school French teacher, will disown me. I took a few years of French in high school myself, but never grasped the language. I could, however, pull off some sick mash-ups of Franglais, like “You’re full of merde” or “Let’s go jouer some baseball”. That and I remember that the French used an alternative to “It’s raining cats and dogs”. They would say, and I’m paraphrasing here, “La vache qui pisse” meaning it is raining like the cow pisses. Score one for higher education.

My inventory process is rather simple.

I walk the garden with printed plant spreadsheet in hand and check off those plants still with us and take counts of all those same plants. Anything not checked is eventually moved to the “Dead” tab in case it needs to be referenced in the future. Any plants that have been added to the garden since the last update are scribbled on to the hard copy of the plant spreadsheet. Later on, plant tags are referenced to ensure the appropriate cultivar name have been included with my new additions.

This is necessary, why? I’ll tell you why:

  1. It is an excuse to carry a clipboard which is always cool.
  2. My neighbors look on confused and that is always fun.
  3. In winter, I like nothing more than to refine my plant spreadsheet as a means of keeping the garden in the conversation.
  4. In winter, I like nothing more than to further educate myself on a plant’s longevity, ease of division and potential partner plants.
  5. My therapist says it gives me a feeling of control and that apparently is considered progress.
  6. Some day, when I’m good and ready, I’ll reveal the plant spreadsheet to the world and it will go viral and I’ll make like tons of money.
  7. I have documentation for the next owners of our home should they not tear it all down in fear of what goes into the upkeep.

And no, I’m not ready to reveal this cornucopia of plant knowledge so you’ll have to just imagine what it looks like.

Actually I’ll give you one little nugget as a teaser. After completing the inventory earlier today it was determined that I have 13 Panicum ‘Rotstrahbusch’ grasses. All are thriving and all originated from plants I bought from Bluestone Perennials in 2006. Come to think of it, I could put out a plant version of Ancestry.com for my own garden and it would be killer.

A thought for another day.

I love me some ‘Rots’ and so does my camera. Here are some pics I took of the “Rots” in various poses and I hope you enjoy them all.

These are numbers 4-6 in terms of their age.



Wispy comes to mind.



Great backdrop for perennials all the way into the Fall.



Intertwined with Boltonia.



Hanging with other grasses including Sorghastrum and Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’.



There is almost always one within earshot of the camera.



As seen through the eyes of Pennisetum ‘Karley Rose’ blooms.


QOTD: Do you really have any interest in my spreadsheet?


Sledding, boozing and spreadsheet reviewing

First off, let me pass on “best of luck” to my more northern neighbors after “Nemo” passed through last night. Here in central NJ, we only received about 6 inches of snow but I can see that New England really got pounded. If I had to guess, they are “Finding Nemo” unpleasant.
6 inches of snow is about the perfect amount of snowfall. It is enough to make it feel like a “storm” and it’s enough to be able to play outside (yes, I am 40 years old). It is also “not enough” to be trapped inside or too overwhelming of a task to remove it.

So after a late sleep, eating of “from scratch” pancakes (apple cider to be exact; my wife so rules) and general relaxation, we took the kids to the local sledding joint in Solebury, PA. My daughter has been a bit ill of late but she was willing to fight through it for the good of the family.

The place was packed with sledders and an inordinate amount of punk pre-teen alpha males but we were able to find a nice area all to ourselves. The kids loved it and we hung for over an hour.

Here’s a few quick videos of the kids sledding down the hill. It is actually a lot steeper than it looks and was a fairly sweet ride:         

The main hill is a lot higher and more adventurous, but we’ll take baby steps with the kids. Future X Games participants they are not. But still, an awesome winter good-time:

Back home by late afternoon and a hoppy beverage was required … an IPA to be exact. Today, we sampled the following:

Like the beer in snow pic? I know, I know … impressively creative.

Anyway, Founder’s Centennial IPA was extremely drinkable and not as overwhelming as some IPA’s can be. Extremely fruity and floral (yes, I just said that) and a wonderful IPA’ish finish. Good times. An 8.5 on a scale of 1-10.

So snow sports done, good beer drunk and it was time to find my favorite spot on the couch. I had serious work to get done. The kids needed to disappear and stay quiet. I needed to pull up my ever precious plant spreadsheet so I could work more on my spring planning/planting.

After careful thought and consternation, I finally came to grips with sharing just a snippet of said spreadsheet with you. Here she is (and don’t even think about stealing the format):     

Yes, it is all in alphabetical order by Latin name.

Yes, I’ve started to log the exact bloom times of plants to the day.

Yes, there is a method to the madness of shading some of the plant names (a secret for now).

And yes, the spreadsheet extends further to the right with even more bits of valuable info.

The process of reviewing the spreadsheet reminds me of plants I forgot that I had planted the following fall and helps me remember which plants bloom at the same time for design purposes. I keep it updated on a regular basis and it always sparks creative ideas.

Speaking of which, last year I had planted a few Allium ‘Puple Sensation’ (which began blooming on May 2nd last year, as witnessed in the spreadsheet above):

These bulbs loooked tremendous scattered throughout my beds; a nice architectural addition if you will.

On a whim at the end of October, I planted a mass of these to see how that effect plays out vs. individual plants here and there. I had totally forgotten about this mass planting until I reviewed the spreadsheet. A nice momentary “Oh yeah, sweet.”

While I have your attention and in a somewhat related note, I have a Heuchera that I love but have no idea what cultivar it is. That is where you all come in. I have tried Google but have yet to make a definitive connection. Take a look at the following pics and if you can identify the cultivar, I will be forever indebted to you:

Thank you in advance.

The day will end with my wife and I watching a few episodes of “Homeland” and chillaxing.

Good times.