Daylilies forum→Thoughts and Tips for Record Keeping

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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Jan 3, 2021 4:17 PM CST
I have been away from the garden for nearly five days. But, in this case out of sight did not mean out of mind. We did get almost three inches of rain while we were gone, that was great. I had mulched the pathways heavily just before leaving, so suffered no wash or erosion problems.
I went to a discount, overstock, odd lot, store while we were gone. Yes, I bought garden stuff, but no plants. I got 12 new pair of gloves with the palm nitrile coating for $10.00. Bought some droppers and small bottles I had been wanting to use with the chemicals I plan to use this coming season. Also I had been wanting to try adding a foliar fertilizer to my spray program and I was able to buy a 10 lb. box of general purpose Miracle-Gro for only $10.00.
When I got home I got out and picked up one load of bagged leaves.
While away I gave a lot of thought to trying to improve my record keeping. Sorry to say, all that thinking did not accomplish much. I thought I needed a computer program to help me keep better records, so I bought PlantStep, and it most certainly does help. Maybe I just need to be more proficient using the program. I have heard of people keeping great records with notebooks, with Excel, and other programs. With all the info PlantStep allows me to record, I seem to be just awful at recording it.
I currently have 380 registered cultivars, close to 1,000 seedlings: I just don't seem to have the time or time management skills to record information on so many plants. So how do the rest of you cut down the time and effort it takes to keep great records.
Now I see hybridizers that plant thousands of seeds and grow thousands of seedlings each year, so I need to learn how they do it. That seems like an impossible task to me. Plus, they have to find time to keep an eye on the parent plants and make sure they are all up to par...more record keeping.
So I need some suggestions of what to keep records of and a way to narrow those down to the most useful records to keep.
I am really going to try and be able to produce a top ten performers list at the end of the year. Top bud counts? Top fan counts? Maybe a list of the plants with the best branching and display of the buds? The list of things seems endless, and I think that is why I always never meet my record keeping goal. I am just thinking about too many things to keep records of, and end up keeping poor records.
Each year I seem to go through this, some years I do decent, other years like this past year I am just a total failure.
I cut back on taking photos last year because it took up so much time, record keeping for me is almost built around my photo taking. My camera has a video feature, so I take a photo, then make a short few second video that records the name and any observations I make of the plant. I download the pictures to the computer and then try to add the info to my PlantStep program before deleting the files so the card will be clear for the next photo session. But trying to do that everyday with over a thousand plants is never going to happen. I have to be able to cut that method down to much fewer plants, without skipping over some plants that need to be recorded.
I did find it easier when I had much fewer plants, but I it should be possible to keep a few lists and important traits.
I suppose for picking the top ten plants each year, just the number of photos would be a hint at the best performers.
Now maybe instead of trying to keep track of so many individual traits maybe I should go with total blooms? Gosh, that seems like way too much counting!Just how do people do it. I am sure the info could all be put into the PlantStep program, but I don't know how well it would be able to digest all the info and print out a top ten list?
Name: Zoia Bologovsky
Stoneham MA (Zone 6a)
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: Massachusetts Bee Lover
Daylilies
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Zoia
Jan 3, 2021 9:02 PM CST
Wow, Larry, that is a lot of angst! I have never kept records of any kind beyond haphazard markers, half of which get pulled up and moved around during cleanup. ( and saved receipts from Daylily orders).I take a lot of photos and that's about it. But my goal this coming summer is to try to figure out what I have, where it is and what needs to be moved. Maybe in a few years I'll be stressing registered height, bud count, branching and all the rest of it but right now that seems like too much work as I'm not a nursery, just a back yard aficionado. With no computer so plant step isn't an option. But I do like a pad and pencil for notes. And photos are invaluable.
Name: Diana
Southeast Missouri (Zone 6a)
Region: Missouri Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Cat Lover Hibiscus Daylilies
Irises Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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DraDiana
Jan 3, 2021 9:28 PM CST
Larry,
There's no way I could make myself do that, except maybe if I could carry a small laptop or smart phone out to the garden and record everything right outside while enjoying looking at the plants. Also, with my ADHD, it would have to be a morning job before my brain gets too tired. Blinking However, I have no intentions of attempting anything so ambitious.
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a semi-retired studio potter.
Hummingbirder Region: California Dog Lover Irises Organic Gardener Daylilies
Dahlias Garden Art Cat Lover Vegetable Grower Birds Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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janwax
Jan 3, 2021 9:57 PM CST
This garden.org site has a profile feature where you can keep a plant list. When an order is made, or delivered, I enter the info in my plant list. It really comes in handy for a person w/o many organizational skills otherwise. Whistling
Life is a Gift !
Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
Vegetable Grower Birds Region: United States of America
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gardenglassgems
Jan 4, 2021 5:49 AM CST
I'm with Zoia, Diana, and Jan. I try to take a lot of pictures. I use the plant list here and I also write things down but sometimes forget where I wrote it or put it. I try to make mental notes but am learning that is the worst thing to count on. Rolling on the floor laughing

I do understand where you are coming from Larry since you are going to do things from a business standpoint and want to know what traits a certain plant has for hybridizing purposes. All I can say is good luck and I hope you can find what is going to work best for you.
Yard decor, repurposing, and flowers,
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Jan 4, 2021 8:12 AM CST
@gardenglassgems,
No way am I going to do things from a business standpoint!!! This is all just fun and a hobby for me, but maybe I am going overboard on my goal of record keeping?
I do want to know what traits plants have for hybridizing purposes. It just seems a natural progression to include hybridizing in the process of growing daylilies. I have no goals as far as registering any plants (even though that would be great). I did grow more seed that I had room to plant this year, so I will try to cut back on that a bit.
Name: Zoia Bologovsky
Stoneham MA (Zone 6a)
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: Massachusetts Bee Lover
Daylilies
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Zoia
Jan 4, 2021 8:37 AM CST
I would say straight observation and photos to help jog your memory ( my latest smart phone update added a labeling feature, just thumb the photo upward and write anything you want under it. That way, it's searchable too. That has really changed my Daylily organizing. I guess there's no reason you couldn't do it while you were walking around, just enter info as you go. But you can't use the old traditional camera for that one...
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Jan 4, 2021 8:55 AM CST
Larry,

I don't keep records to the extent that you do. I think you are one of the few great record keepers here on this forum. I admire that. You need to remember your are (most likely) ONE employee in this task. I'm guessing other DL hybridizers have at least seasonal help.

I like to have a small note book when I go to the garden. That in itself needs organization, which I fall short of. I make notes and never get back to them to record them in a permanent place. It's a lot for one person to do. Don't be hard on yourself. I, like you, wanted to have perfect records. Especially with the seedlings. As I said above, I think you are doing a fantastic job right now. But I do feel your pain of needing a better way. I really hope someone here can give you advise that helps.

I at least have the winter shutdown in my zone which allows time to record notes (if they are organized Blinking ). Your season slows down a bit for winter (from what I gather) but never stops.
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Irises Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Cat Lover
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touchofsky
Jan 4, 2021 9:05 AM CST
Larry,
I think everyone is going to have a system that works for them. I take a lot of pictures, but I don't erase them once I have downloaded them to the computer. Once the camera cards are full, I buy a new one and I save my used camera cards with the photos on them. I also carry a small notebook in my pocket and record my pictures in that, as well as performance notes. I work on my photos over the winter and update my notes in Plantstep.
Late in the season this year, I took a couple of days and made notes of the number of buds and branches on scapes. I find it easier to count the bud scars, and it is easier to work amongst the plants with much less chance of knocking off buds or damaging plants then during bloom season.

A lot of it for me is just a gut feeling. Some seedlings I just really like. I tend to take a lot of photos of them. I find that I will make an extra trip back, just to take another look. I have only been growing seedlings about five years now, but I can see that I am narrowing my focus and deciding where I want to put my efforts. This coming year, I have some seedlings that I am going to give special attention. They just stand out from the others to me. They are the ones I think about when I am not in the garden, or the ones that I am really happy when their pollen is successful or their seeds germinate!

As others have mentioned, don't be too hard on yourself Smiling
Touch_of_sky on the LA
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Jan 4, 2021 9:38 AM CST
petruske,
Well you did get the part correct about me being the only one here doing the work, don't know who you have me confused with that does such a good job of record keeping?
I have so many notebooks full of notes, but no system for organizing them.
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Irises Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Cat Lover
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touchofsky
Jan 4, 2021 9:50 AM CST
Larry,
I was thinking about your photo taking, and it might help if you bought several camera cards. Then when you start your photo taking session, you could record the date, then proceed as you normally do. Then if you had more than one card, you could take the card you used that day out of the camera and save that session for a convenient time to add the photos and notes to your computer and Plantstep. When you go to do your next session, put a clean card in your camera, record the date and proceed.
You can then save your camera cards and download them when convenient.
That would relieve some of the time pressures from you, especially of getting all your photos downloaded to the computer and your notes added to PlantStep before your next session. You could save those tasks to rainy days or evenings.
Just some thoughts Thinking
Touch_of_sky on the LA
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
Image
Seedfork
Jan 4, 2021 10:35 AM CST
touchofsky,
I have my camera set up so the date is automatically printed on each photo down in the lower right corner. Plus when I download the photos to the computer it is set to automatically add each photo to a monthly folder. So all my photos are automatically added into a monthly photo folder and each photo had the date. I even used to have it set up to put the time the photo was taken on it, but that looked a bit cluttered. I have a remote hard drive for backup.
Plus by doing a control "F" search I can punch in any cultivar name and pull up all the photos I have taken of it. I have been trying to add my "video voice recorded notes" to my PlantStep program as soon as I downloaded the photos. I might do better to put that off till night then I would not be so rushed or have so many interruptions. But my memory is so bad and I get confused so easily I have always tried to do it while things were fresh on my mind.
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Jan 4, 2021 3:23 PM CST
I do something similar to what Valerie does with counting bud scars, but have not done it every year. At the end of the season (or end of a cultivar's season), I take a clipboard and paper and count scapes and how many bud scars on each scape. But I really only do the ones that perform well. I don't do every daylily, because some just don't warrant the time. Then I use Excel to record the data.

With that said, I only have about 250 daylilies and a few seedlings, so nothing near what you have. My pictures are my main data source because I keep those by year and can search by the date taken to see when the bloom period is for each cultivar. I use Excel for everything I record: list of purchases, current daylilies, daylilies given away when and to whom, maps, and to record what few crosses I have.

I would be willing to bet that most hybridizers don't record every bit of data until a seedling shows that it is worth keeping, but I would be interested to hear from some of them.

Now that I will be retired in a few days, I may spend more time recording data this year.

Great question, Larry!
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Arlene
Florida's east coast (Zone 9a)
Tropicals Daylilies Bromeliad Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers Birds
Garden Photography
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florange
Jan 4, 2021 4:50 PM CST
I keep scads of records but don't have Plant Step. I keep a notebook annually with each page labeled with a daylily name. I keep my photo album, of course. And I keep records of scapes and bud counts. To make the scape/bud counts easier to do, I created a form in Excel that is easy to fill out and works very well. Looks like this.

Cultivar Height/branches/bc Height/branches/bc Height/branches/bc
Date

Cultivar name tall branch bud count
___________________________ ___"X___wX____bc ___ "X___wX____bc ___ "X___wX____bc____
___________________________ ___"X___wX____bc ___ "X___wX____bc ___ "X___wX____bc____

I keep the sheets until a rainy day, then enter the data in my notebook. Works for me!
[Last edited by florange - Jan 4, 2021 5:05 PM (+)]
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Jan 4, 2021 5:51 PM CST
florange,
Can you post an actual page, or better pages from your notebook? How do you decide each year which plants to keep records of? About how many cultivars do you log stats for each year?
Name: Arlene
Florida's east coast (Zone 9a)
Tropicals Daylilies Bromeliad Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers Birds
Garden Photography
Image
florange
Jan 4, 2021 6:16 PM CST
I keep records of all of them. When I collect scapes, I bind the scapes of each cultivar together with blue tape and use the Excel program to keep track of them.

The notebook labels are printed on address labels. They show cultivar name, date I received it, hybridizer, year of introduction, stats and a description.
As a for instance-- JARED TIMOTHY BELL 11/6/19
Bell 2015, 30" x 6.75" (much taller and bigger in this garden!)
Cream peach w/purple patterned
eye & triple edge
Does this help???




Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
Image
Seedfork
Jan 4, 2021 6:42 PM CST
Yes, but I was shocked when you said, " I keep records of all of them." How many is that?
Name: Arlene
Florida's east coast (Zone 9a)
Tropicals Daylilies Bromeliad Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers Birds
Garden Photography
Image
florange
Jan 4, 2021 6:56 PM CST
Larry, it used to be 125 and now it is 70. I keep these address labels on the computer and update them each year. Gives me something to do on New Years Day. I update the photo album labels and set up the binder for the new year. For seedlings, I just put the seedling name on the label and then maintain seedling sheets from the AHS (I used to be a garden judge) on each seedling. It keeps me busy in retirement!!
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
Image
Seedfork
Jan 4, 2021 9:26 PM CST
I suppose with hundreds of new seedlings each year and well over 350 named cultivars, I will have to be a little more selective than trying to do them all.
I printed out one of the sheets from the Garden Judges Manual for seedlings, not sure that is the exact form you use.
I would love to see some of those forms filled out and how many notes would be scribbled on them?
Name: Brenda
Victoria, Tx (Zone 9a)
Daylilies
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SouthTexasGardener
Jan 4, 2021 9:35 PM CST
Larry, I feel your pain. I don't have half the daylilies you have and am not a serious hybridizer. Yet, I am dismayed at the disorganized notes I have. I take my photos on my iphone because it is convenient and takes great pictures. But labeling the pictures is laborious. Then, I still need to download the pictures to my computer so that they can be matched to my recorded information on each cultivar. I bought Plant Step but never learned to use it. I want someone to tell me how to do all this!!! Confused

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