Sempervivum forum→Organization and record keeping

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Name: Sharen
Hollidaysburg PA (Zone 6b)
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Dbfarmgirl
Jun 9, 2021 6:25 AM CST
I was hoping to get some advise from long time semp growers on what kind of records you keep on your plants, if any.

Do you just keep track of what plants you have, where you got them or more detailed info? I know if you breed them records are important, but what other info is useful? Do you wish you kept more info when you started your collection or less? Do you take photos to keep track of increases, does it matter?

I can be a train wreck organizing some things and go overboard on others. I could keep track of increases, bloom outs etc. But to what end. I have kept a list of plants I have, where I got them and what year. Is there anything else that you wish you kept track of in the years you have grown semps?

I am still at a stage I can go back and fix labels, etc, but not for long... Whistling
Just curious how other people manage their collections.
Sharen
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jun 9, 2021 11:25 AM CST

Moderator

Sharen, I have a spreadsheet that has every semp in my collection. Date acquired, full name of plant, where it came from, and what bed it is in.
On my print out I make notations, rots in winter, does not produce very many offsets (#), drought tolerant, etc.
I also note on the spreadsheet what cross/crosses I made. Date
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Jun 10, 2021 11:17 AM CST
Most of my record keeping is on the seedlings as you can get into a mess in a hurry there if you don't keep records on them. Each cross gets an alphanumeric, like E129, to designate the cross. That information is stored in a notebook. If seedlings are numbered from a cross they get added, separated by a dash, so E129-1 would be the first seedling from that cross. A description of that seedling goes into the notebook. (That one happens to be in production BTW, a big blue/ pink combination.) If the plant is one I'm naming I also take further notes on the flowers.

I do use aluminum markers from Paw Paw that even with #2 pencil markings keep their integrity through many years. I do get some movememt of markers from animals of all types and that generally involves re-marking the plants.

In the garden I tend to cluster the ones from given sources together so that all the plants from Erwin are in one area and all from Howard are in another. However my yard is more and more dominated by my own things, either ones I've named or a seedling I'm either considering for introduction or using for breeding. If I were a commercial dealer I would probably keep more detailed records of the cultivars from others but the seedlings are my thrust.

Kevin
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jun 10, 2021 11:28 AM CST

Moderator

Great information Kevin. What does the E stand for?
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Jun 10, 2021 1:07 PM CST
E is the year. So all the seedlings with E in front of the name were from '16 crosses.

Kevin
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jun 10, 2021 1:16 PM CST

Moderator

Kevin, can you give me a link for the year chart? It would be great to have that information in this Organization and record keeping thread.
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jun 10, 2021 1:22 PM CST

Moderator

Would this be the same, this one is for cattle, but shows 2016 to be D
https://www.uaex.edu/farm-ranc...
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Jun 10, 2021 4:33 PM CST
Lynn,

Yes same concept. There's nothing sacred in what letter is used. Mine re-started when I moved to Oregon for the semps but goes back a long tome on the irises and daylilies. They are already through the alphabet once and into a compound letter, AD, is the group I just planted out. Mine is all hand-written in my note book. Don't ever do Excel. TOO clunky.

Interesting that the font on this forum has changed. Much harder to read! If you can tell the people in charge CHANGE IT BACK!

Kevin
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jun 10, 2021 5:43 PM CST

Moderator

Kevin, everything looks the same to me. I did some checking, it is probably something on your end. Can you restart your computer?

Again, thank you for the information. Thumbs up
Name: NAME: Alex
LOCATION: Virginia (Fairfax) ( (Zone 7a)
Sempervivums Sedums Region: Virginia Garden Photography Container Gardener Bookworm
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Houseplants Native Plants and Wildflowers Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Amaryllis
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sedumzz
Jun 10, 2021 7:08 PM CST
JungleShadows said:Lynn,

Yes same concept. There's nothing sacred in what letter is used. Mine re-started when I moved to Oregon for the semps but goes back a long tome on the irises and daylilies. They are already through the alphabet once and into a compound letter, AD, is the group I just planted out. Mine is all hand-written in my note book. Don't ever do Excel. TOO clunky.

Interesting that the font on this forum has changed. Much harder to read! If you can tell the people in charge CHANGE IT BACK!

Kevin


Does it sorta look like old time "Newspaper" font? If so, that might be from the CSS (How the font looks, the colors, the box designs of the website) didn't fully load. It happens to me sometimes when I reload a page.
Mr. Max says "Hi"
Name: Sharen
Hollidaysburg PA (Zone 6b)
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Dbfarmgirl
Jun 10, 2021 7:15 PM CST
I have a running list with name, where I purchased and what year.
I have never used excell (it's Ok to laugh, I don't have a cell phone either)

I use paw paw labels too, have you ever had #2 pencil wear off of them? I could fit a lot of info on a plant label if I use pencil. I like the idea mentioned in another thread to bury a label for back up ID. I would hate to have a hundred noids. I think I could assign them numbers on a sheet and just bury a number label.

Do you keep photo records of plants that are not your own seedlings? I'm getting so many photos I have to organize them too. Photos would make it easy to keep track of growth, but other than a folder for each plant, I'm not sure it would be easy.
Sharen
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
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GeologicalForms
Jun 10, 2021 8:15 PM CST
Interesting topic Sharen,
Jo Ann buries her labels and I started doing it to, when the labels break I just burry the pieces until I can get around to writing up a fresh one.
I'm in the process of switching all of my labels to the thicker plastic ones which are cast instead of cut, and I only use pencil now because even permanent markers fade quickly. Those cast plastic labels hold up really well, I use the luster leaf 4" ones and have for three years, so far I've only see them break when I really torque them.
I've been keeping tabs on the color phases the plants have, with regards to my cultivar collection I have a fairly good idea of when they shift and to what, but for my seedlings I keep detailed records on the duration of color phases, often accurate down to the month. I now use numbers as per Kevin's suggestions to help keep things organized. Those numbers correspond with overhead images from the original plantings, taken in the second year of growth and labeled with tiny notations, which also correspond with a written log of brief descriptions. Before I started doing that I simply wrote all of the information in fine print on the label that went with the plants after they were moved from the seedling beds, that works to but it's a little tough to get all the cross and color phase info on a tiny label.
Back to the cultivars, I always thought it'd be cool to have the hybridizer's name and year of release with the plant, perhaps even the country of origin, but thanks to websites like this one that's not really necessary. I use this website not only for research but also for documentation, and it's been a valuable tool in storing data on my plants. I actually have a very close relationship with my collection as well, some of my labels have broken and have yet to be replaced because I'm in no rush to do so, knowing most of them by sight. Sure at a glance I might have difficulty telling the difference between 'Pinkerine' and 'Pink Lemonade', but so long as the label's on one of them a little detective work is all it takes. Plus 'Pink Lemonade' goes yellow when it gets too much sun, where 'Pinkerine' is pretty much pink till crispy! but after growing them for years I just know that kind of stuff.
I do keep my receipts and try to keep track of where I got things from, just incase there is a plant with the same name sold elsewhere which is not the same plant I have, at which point I have a lead to follow in the case of determining the validity of it's name.
I think you can be as organized or as careless as suits you, so long as you know what's what, the info is on the web to be reread at any time.
-Sol
[Last edited by GeologicalForms - Jun 10, 2021 8:23 PM (+)]
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Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Jun 11, 2021 8:58 AM CST
Typeset is fine today!

Kevin
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jun 11, 2021 11:48 AM CST

Moderator

Glad the typeset is back to normal for you Kevin.

I like doing a photo history of the different cultivars for comparison with the same semp grown in different parts of the world. Soil, amount of sun, time of year, etc. All conditions can cause a semp to have some differences, but should still have a basic appearance to the original cultivar. Hope this makes sense.
Name: Melissa Hopper
St. Helens, Or (Zone 8a)
Semp addict horse junky dog flunky
Sempervivums Keeps Horses Dog Lover Critters Allowed Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Photography
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MelissaHopper
Jun 12, 2021 9:30 AM CST
My record keeping is pretty minimal.

I keep an alphabetical list of all my semps. On that list I also record where I got the plant. But not when it got it.

I also take pictures on a regular basis and keep a digital picture file of each semp in my permanent area.

Since I am just getting started with seedlings I am going to have to do more detailed records I think.

For markers I use two types. I have those plastic ones that you can write on. Like these. I use these for plants that I am starting and going to sell. They do have to be redone on a regular basis.

Thumb of 2021-06-12/MelissaHopper/c0a725

For my permanent plants I order my markers from Chris R. I really like them because they do not have to be redone and they are very unnoticeable. The white ones stick out like a sore thumb!

Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jun 12, 2021 12:04 PM CST

Moderator

I used to use the Paw Paw tags with permanent outdoor printed labels.
I now use the tags from Chris (goldfinch)4, for the reason Melissa gave above. They kind of disappear into the landscape. Still use the permanent printed labels for the tags.
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Jun 14, 2021 10:02 AM CST
I use the smallest of the pot labels from Paw Paw as I can write on these with #2 pencil. Ones I marked 10 years ago are still legible. All the seedling rows are marked this way as are the seedling selections and named cultivars.

This is fine if your garden is not being toured as I know where things are and can tell you. However, Chris' labels are readable from a distance and are attractive but not obtrusive. If I didn't have so many plants to re-do I would probably use that system.

Kevin
Name: Sharen
Hollidaysburg PA (Zone 6b)
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Dbfarmgirl
Jun 15, 2021 5:20 AM CST
Good to know about pencil lasting that long on those labels. I had been using a thick greasy marking pencil. It has lasts but with my bad handwriting, thinner pencil would make it more legible. I love Chris's labels too, they are a little harder to use with curved sided pots than the bendable metal ones. If I grew in the ground I think that's what I would use. There is no chance of my garden being toured by anyone aside from family.
I got a ptouch label maker after reading about them here. I had one in my Amazon cart forever and finally bought one. I may cover my lousy handwriting on the metal labels with ptouch labels when I have time.

I'm still trying to decide how I want to group my plants in my growing area. So far I'm leaning towards predominate color. Green is just green until its next to 'olive' 'sage' etc. Once I get my newer plants settled in I can reassess. Now they are in more shade until they root well.
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jun 15, 2021 11:18 AM CST

Moderator

Sharen, alphabetical works well, then it is easier to find plants as your collection increases.
Name: Melissa Hopper
St. Helens, Or (Zone 8a)
Semp addict horse junky dog flunky
Sempervivums Keeps Horses Dog Lover Critters Allowed Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Photography
Hummingbirder Region: Oregon
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MelissaHopper
Jun 15, 2021 12:01 PM CST
Sharen, I agree with Lynn.

I try to keep mine as alphabetical as possible other wise I find myself having to run all around my yard to find a specific plant. That is especially a pain when I am trying to photograph everybody and marking off my master list as I go. It is such a pain for Bernstein to be in one spot and Blue Boy is way the heck the other side of the yard.

It doesn't always work because some plants don't like a location but for the most part it really helps.

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