Irises forum→Best spreadsheet....

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Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
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evelyninthegarden
Oct 2, 2019 7:46 PM CST
In your experience, what is the most useful spreadsheet for keeping track of your irises?

I'm not wanting to duplicate the the database here, but for logging the performance, number of increases, bloomtimes, and various details. I am finding the notebook approach, the first step, but I seem to be entering information about the same irises at different times, and I was thinking a computer program could make it easier.

I have to admit, I have very limited experience in creating a spreadsheet. Google docs or Excel? Or is something else better?
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
[Last edited by evelyninthegarden - Oct 4, 2019 1:34 PM (+)]
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Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Region: Australia Bookworm Cat Lover Lilies Orchids Irises
Seed Starter Annuals Container Gardener Garden Photography Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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Australis
Oct 2, 2019 8:12 PM CST

Plants Admin

A lot of the spreadsheet programs (Google Docs/Sheets, Microsoft Excel, SoftMaker Office, OpenOffice, etc.) are all very similar in the basic functionality.

However, I use Google Sheets because I can access it easily from any computer or my phone (as it is stored in Google's servers). Microsoft has made a lot of headway here with Office Online, but isn't quite up to Google yet.

On the other hand, Excel can do a lot more charts and advanced functions than Google. I doubt that is of particular use here, though, but it depends on what exactly you want to record.
Plant Authorities: Catalogue of Life (Species) --- International Cultivar Registration Authorities (Cultivars) --- RHS Orchid Register --- RHS Lilium Register
My Notes: Orchid Genera HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Traits HTML PDF --- Lilium Species Crosses HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Species Diagram
The current profile image is that of Iris 'Volcanic Glow'.
[Last edited by Australis - Oct 2, 2019 11:24 PM (+)]
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Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals Seed Starter
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evelyninthegarden
Oct 2, 2019 8:18 PM CST
Joshua ~ Thank you. What information do you put on your Google doc? I admit, I am a bit new at this.
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals Seed Starter
Image
evelyninthegarden
Oct 2, 2019 8:22 PM CST
Joshua ~ Yes, I do like the idea that the info can be accessed from any device. And if your computer crashes, you don't lose the information that took so long to input. Also you can check it from anywhere and even enter it in from the garden.
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Region: Australia Bookworm Cat Lover Lilies Orchids Irises
Seed Starter Annuals Container Gardener Garden Photography Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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Australis
Oct 3, 2019 1:04 AM CST

Plants Admin

I have a couple of Google sheets. I tend to be a little obsessive and detail focussed, so I record a lot of things.

The first sheet is a list that I use to supplement my plant list here on garden.org. I record fields like:

- do I have it, want it, or have decided against it (very useful so that if I see it in a thread and go "ooh, maybe I should get that one" I can check to see if I've already decided against it and why)
- the size group (SDB, TB, etc.)
- cultivar
- colour group (yellows, reds, blues, purples, whites, pastels, etc.)
- colour description
- reblooming/non-reblooming
- PBF
- fragrance
- bloom life
- where I got it from
- who else I know likes it (so that I know who to offer it to when I have too many)
- what other plants in my collection or wish list it might be similar to (helps me avoid too many similar-looking irises, or if I was unimpressed with a particular cultivar but want something similar, I know what to try next)
- any other comments I might have

The second workbook/document is for my hybridising (I do this for my Orchids and Liliums as well). One sheet is simply for ideas, where I note down which two plants I might want to cross, what I want to achieve with the cross and what "priority" I put on it. The other contains a record of crosses I've tried with information like:

- Pod Parent
- Pollen Parent
- When I attempted it
- How many pods I set
- How many pods took
- When I harvested it
- How many seeds I harvested

This helps me to know (1) if I've already thought of an idea and why I wanted to try it and (2) which crosses (and which direction) worked or failed.
Plant Authorities: Catalogue of Life (Species) --- International Cultivar Registration Authorities (Cultivars) --- RHS Orchid Register --- RHS Lilium Register
My Notes: Orchid Genera HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Traits HTML PDF --- Lilium Species Crosses HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Species Diagram
The current profile image is that of Iris 'Volcanic Glow'.
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals Seed Starter
Image
evelyninthegarden
Oct 3, 2019 5:25 PM CST
Joshua ~ On your second list, I have just been recording idea for crossing in a notebook. I have another book for actual crosses that were made.

Mind you, I just started in 2017, with my first large iris purchases. Before that, I only grew a few in my mixed borders. After the first batch bloomed, just last year, I crossed a few, just to see if I could do it. Then, when I ended up with so many seedlings, I wanted to skip a year for various reasons....but pods came anyway. You probably already read about it...all were empty but 2.

Of course, I was curious, so they are in envelopes in the spare fridge. I have not yet begun to process them, that is soak or plant them. They are waiting.

I really appreciate it that you have shared your ideas and what program you are using for your spreadsheet.
My notebooks seem to be getting out of hand. I know some use a loose leaf binder with one page for each iris. That seems practical as the list of irises that one has changes from one season to the next. Do you have paper records also?
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Region: Australia Bookworm Cat Lover Lilies Orchids Irises
Seed Starter Annuals Container Gardener Garden Photography Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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Australis
Oct 3, 2019 7:32 PM CST

Plants Admin

You're welcome, Evelyn. I'm glad it is of use.

My cataloguing system is entirely digital; I do have a notebook where I make gardening notes at times, but that is predominantly so I don't forget it before adding it to my spreadsheets or documents later.

I also use Google Drawings (part of the Google Docs suite) to map out the garden bed. I upload a photo of the plant, then create a text box (sized to fit the photo) and put the name in it. I then group the text box with the photo and can move it around the drawing canvas as required. Here's an example:

Thumb of 2019-10-04/Australis/2363dd

Plant Authorities: Catalogue of Life (Species) --- International Cultivar Registration Authorities (Cultivars) --- RHS Orchid Register --- RHS Lilium Register
My Notes: Orchid Genera HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Traits HTML PDF --- Lilium Species Crosses HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Species Diagram
The current profile image is that of Iris 'Volcanic Glow'.
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals Seed Starter
Image
evelyninthegarden
Oct 3, 2019 8:38 PM CST
Joshua ~ What a great idea!

Now I just have to learn how to use it. Can you sort your irises, alphabetically, by bloom time and by location?
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Region: Australia Bookworm Cat Lover Lilies Orchids Irises
Seed Starter Annuals Container Gardener Garden Photography Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer
Image
Australis
Oct 3, 2019 9:13 PM CST

Plants Admin

Yes, you can sort and filter in Google Sheets. The Data Menu has a lot of these options. The way I use it is to create a filter first on the entire spreadsheet (click on square above row 1 and to the left of column A to highlight/select the entire sheet, then select "Create a filter" from the data menu):

Thumb of 2019-10-04/Australis/177c8d

Once the filter has been created, there will be a little triangle on the first row (I also apply a colour background to the first row so that it's clearly the header row). Clicking on the triangle for any of the columns will bring up the sort and filter options for that column. So you can then sort the entire sheet by that column.

Thumb of 2019-10-04/Australis/4bb9d6

Plant Authorities: Catalogue of Life (Species) --- International Cultivar Registration Authorities (Cultivars) --- RHS Orchid Register --- RHS Lilium Register
My Notes: Orchid Genera HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Traits HTML PDF --- Lilium Species Crosses HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Species Diagram
The current profile image is that of Iris 'Volcanic Glow'.
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals Seed Starter
Image
evelyninthegarden
Oct 3, 2019 9:40 PM CST
Joshua ~ Thank you so much! Thank You!

Now I can get started. I need this project since I can't walk around for a while.

I've been wanting to do this for a long time but I just didn't know where to start. You have helped me tremendously. Now, I just have to hope that Verizon doesn't go down again. It is usually pretty good, but lately a weak, to no signal at all for most of the day.
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Region: Australia Bookworm Cat Lover Lilies Orchids Irises
Seed Starter Annuals Container Gardener Garden Photography Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer
Image
Australis
Oct 3, 2019 10:06 PM CST

Plants Admin

You're welcome, Evelyn! Let me know if you get stuck and I'll try to help - I've been using Google Docs and Sheets for a while, so I know where most of the functions are now.
Plant Authorities: Catalogue of Life (Species) --- International Cultivar Registration Authorities (Cultivars) --- RHS Orchid Register --- RHS Lilium Register
My Notes: Orchid Genera HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Traits HTML PDF --- Lilium Species Crosses HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Species Diagram
The current profile image is that of Iris 'Volcanic Glow'.
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals Seed Starter
Image
evelyninthegarden
Oct 3, 2019 11:50 PM CST
Joshua ~ Thank You!
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln NE (Zone 5b)
Try Naturalizing perennials! :)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis Irises Daylilies Lilies Foliage Fan
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SonoveShakespeare
Oct 4, 2019 8:42 AM CST
I love google spread sheets, I also use them to track pod/pollen parents of the flowers I breed. I even have one for scape, bud, and fan count. (fan count mainly for irises.) Fan count of daylilies can be a bit tricky once the clumps get big.

I still have to add the iris crosses I made this year on the spread sheet. Not to mention I'll have to wait until a month or two after they sprout to add them though. D'Oh!
Not only people give others signs, but plants do too.
Name: Elsa
Las Cruces, New Mexico (Zone 8a)
Region: New Mexico Region: United States of America Irises Region: Southwest Gardening Dog Lover
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GreenIris
Oct 5, 2019 7:13 PM CST
I have been keeping things low tech and use a 3 ring binder. I have a master list and garden maps. I hand draw the maps by making little circles with numbers for each garden and listing the plants along with their numbers. Now this is all I have been doing because I have very little time and to me, it's just easy to add new plants etc; to my lists.

But your question has me thinking. Up until now, I have had very few seedlings that matured enough to make it to the garden. Three exactly. So I know them by heart, how they bloom, what they look like, etc But that all changed this year. I have moved a large number of 2 crosses to the gardens from bins. I know where they are and what cross they are. But I need to keep track of when they bloom, health of blooms/plants and whether they have other redeeming qualities.

It may be time to start a spreadsheet.
I think the people who grow Irises are about as special as the flower itself!
[Last edited by GreenIris - Oct 5, 2019 7:15 PM (+)]
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Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals Seed Starter
Image
evelyninthegarden
Oct 5, 2019 10:04 PM CST
Elsa ~ I like your idea of a loose leaf binder. That is a good way to keep your master list. Some like to add pictures in them but I'm not sure that is practical. And your map of your gardens is a standard garden plan map.

If you like to keep paper records, the inexpensive bound notebooks are great for crosses and seedlings. I have been using them for everything, and it may not be the most practical. Especially if you want to record your order of blooms. That's why I was wanting the spreadsheet, as it can be sorted by date, or name, etc. (I am now on "C") I do not have them in alphabet columns however, just alphabetical.
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Elsa
Las Cruces, New Mexico (Zone 8a)
Region: New Mexico Region: United States of America Irises Region: Southwest Gardening Dog Lover
Image
GreenIris
Oct 6, 2019 8:27 AM CST
Agreed Ev: i like to take my binder into the garden. But maybe it's time to invest in a tablet and take that with me in the garden.
I think the people who grow Irises are about as special as the flower itself!
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals Seed Starter
Image
evelyninthegarden
Oct 12, 2019 10:04 PM CST
Elsa ~ I'm a little more than halfway through my spreadsheet. I have the time on my hands, so I might as well do it now. It is on Google sheets.
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Elsa
Las Cruces, New Mexico (Zone 8a)
Region: New Mexico Region: United States of America Irises Region: Southwest Gardening Dog Lover
Image
GreenIris
Oct 13, 2019 10:15 PM CST
Agreed! It's a great project while you are recovering and should benefit you for many years to come
I think the people who grow Irises are about as special as the flower itself!

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