TIPS AND TRICKS
If you have a lot of plants, notes and pictures, it can be daunting to think about organizing and entering all that information into your Muddy Boots Plant Tags account. I am in the process of documenting my garden, Acorn Hill, and would like to offer some suggestions based on my experience.
1. HAVE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS IN FOLDERS BY YEAR.
This is pretty easy to do on the computer because most computers will sort things by file date. Then you can cut and paste blocks of pictures into a folder for each year. This makes it easier to sort through a lot of digital photos as you go along.
2. HAVE YOUR BAGS, BOXES, AND FOLDERS OF OLD PLANT TAGS AND RECEIPTS HANDY.
If you need a bit of help remembering all your plants, having those dirty old tags at hand helps if you want to put in both the Common and Botanical name, or if you need an assist in remembering where you bought things.
3. THINK ABOUT YOUR GARDEN IN TERMS OF AREAS.
You might have a Front Yard, Back Yard and Side Yard. Or, you might have specific garden rooms like I do. I have a Courtyard, Formal Garden, Moss Garden, and so on.
4. PICK A STARTING PLACE, AND DO A BIT AT A TIME.
I started by creating a Garden Record for all of my important plants in the Courtyard. I have several Japanese Maples, so I started there. Then I mentally walked around that space and added other trees and shrubs in the Courtyard. I took a final mental pass around and recorded the perennials. This way I could do a chunk in one sitting and feel a real sense of accomplishment.
Some suggestions for ways to organize are:
- By area of the garden
- By plant type such as trees, shrubs, perennials
- By year planted
5. TO EASILY UPLOAD PHOTOS, TOGGLE BETWEEN THE PHOTO UPLOAD PAGE AND YOUR FOLDER OF PICTURES ON YOUR COMPUTER.
As I started uploading pictures, I found that it was easiest to look at pictures in a folder on my computer to decide which one to upload. I noted the file name or number, then switched to the UPLOAD page in Muddy Boots Plant Tags, chose that file and clicked upload. While that was uploading, I would go back to the image file in the folder to note the date it was taken. Switching back to the UPLOAD, the file would be just finishing and I’d be ready to add my Date, Title, and Caption if I wanted.
6. THE FASTEST WAY TO UPLOAD PHOTOS IS TO RESIZE THEM FIRST.
Depending on the size of your images and the speed of your internet connection, uploading pictures can be slow. I live in the country and have a slow connection, so the fastest way for me to upload pictures is to resize them before I upload them. My process is:
a. COPY (so you don’t lose your original file) the pictures that you want to upload to a temporary folder.
b. Do a mass resize to 50% using something like Microsoft Picture Manager or paint.net.
c. Upload your pictures to Muddy Boots Plant Tags.
d. Delete the temporary folder with the COPIES of your pictures.
7. RECORD A SPECIFIC PROJECT
Rather than creating a Garden Record for a plant, I created one for a project. This allowed me to organize pictures of our Pond Garden Project from start to finish and make journal notes about the process. Click here to see the Pond Garden Project.
8. RECORD YOUR GARDEN BY YEAR
I also created a Garden Record for our garden, Acorn Hill. For each of the fourteen years we’ve lived here I’ve uploaded pictures that highlight big changes in the garden or a particular view that is fun to see over time. I also wrote a short Journal note for each year describing some of the things that happened that year.
Although it took time to look through my photos for each year, I really enjoyed remembering those events and reflecting on how Acorn Hill has changed. I spent an hour or so at a time entering each year’s data so it didn’t seem overwhelming. Click here to see my record of Acorn Hill.
Finally, Muddy Boots Plant Tags is a platform for organizing and distilling your pictures and thoughts and plant details; it’s not a place for mass uploads. I think of it as telling the story of your garden. I’m enjoying the process and I hope you do to.