My Garden: A Personal Plant Reference

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen this little statement I made on October 5.

Yeah, well… I just finished.

My Garden: A Personal Plant Reference

That’s the cover and a sample page. There are 28 plants listed, and (unless I forgot about one) every perennial flower, bush, and tree in my garden is represented.

I culled photos and information from Monrovia, Nature Hills, Spring Hill Nursery, Michigan Bulb Co., and yes, even Wikipedia. I noted the source of information at the bottom of each page.

If you’re curious and would like to see the crazy project I spent way too much time on, you can download the PDF by clicking on the banner below.


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  • jill
    November 11, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    That’s really quite inspiring!

  • kealoha
    November 11, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    What a beautiful and inspiring project! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Samae
    November 11, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    This is a fantastic idea! I should totally do this when we redo our yard this coming summer. Thanks for the inspiration. This is also a great idea for all those recipes that linger in my kitchen. As a designer, too, I can do this I just get lazy once I leave the office.

    BTW – I read your blog all the time. Its great! I never comment but thought I would this time. Thanks for sharing all your fun, creative ideas.

  • Nicole
    November 11, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    So amazing! We’re house hunting & I can only hope that the place we end up with will come with something like this… so I at least have a chance of not killing anything already there!

  • Kate
    November 11, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Beautiful, of course. This totally inspires me for a cookbook project I’m working on using my Great-Grandmother’s recipes.

  • Marisa
    November 11, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    That’s wonderful – and SO useful! And a great inspiration.

    One thought: do you have a garden plan/diagram? I think that would be a solid addition to the garden book, especially when you are thinking about ordering plants while everything’s still buried under the snow.

  • Becki
    November 11, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    This is a gorgeous book which will be really useful to you and any future owners of your home. You may also want to add the date that the plant/tree was planted especially for those plants that require dividing, etc. Beautiful job.

  • Ryan
    November 11, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I have been thinking of doing this same type of project for the last few years because I can never remember things like when I should prune (fall or spring) how much (just the shape or to the ground) So I just call my mom and ask – but I keep asking the same things year after year ’cause I don’t remember. Since we’re both zone 5 I might steal part of your book as a jumping off point for mine. I agree with Marisa that a planting diagram is probably a good addition. And if you want to get super obsessive in the future a diagram that notes which areas get more sun, or less water, or what plants you find don’t do well.

  • Erin
    November 11, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Very cool. Makes me want to do this for my own home. The design is so lovely though, it makes me wonder if you could re-work it into a fill-in-the blanks and picture style workbook and sell it? I think you’d probably have a lot of takers! Time to start a new publishing outfit with all that extra time you don’t have… :)

  • Kylie
    November 11, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    This is the best idea ever!! You’ve inspired me to plant more things in my backyard, I just hope we have them in Australia. I’m sooo envious that you have a peony bush, they are one of my favourite flowers.

  • Carrie
    November 11, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    this is so fantastic! i have thought about doing something similar every time i plant new things but haven’t ever gotten around to it. seeing yours is really inspiring, great job!

  • Krysta
    November 11, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    omg, you ae such a nerd. And I am exactly the same way!

    This is really very cool (and beautiful I might add). Congrats on finishing the project!

  • Katy
    November 11, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Thats so great, you must have a beautiful garden, you should get it bound into a book. What a great idea…

  • Janice
    November 12, 2008 at 2:19 am

    This so amazing! Very pretty. Though I dont have a garden of my own, it’s inspiring! Love the fonts u used for the headings….if you dont mind sharing, what’s the name of the fonts used?

  • Sandra@Botany's Desire
    November 12, 2008 at 2:26 am

    Love Love! How inspiring. I may attempt to do something like next spring. Thank you for shairing.

  • Erin
    November 12, 2008 at 10:31 am

    What a great guide! You did such a lovely job with it.

  • Vica (Flying Umbrellas)
    November 12, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    That is very beautiful idea :) Each time I go home, I love to spend time in my mom’s garden full of beautiful flowers and taking photos of them. I dream of my own garden too and definitely your nice guide will be a very good starting point :)
    Thanks for sharing your great ideas with us,

  • Meghan
    November 12, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    I loved looking through your plant palette, I have one for my parent’s house that I did over the summer. I love the Coreopsis rosea, but they aren’t always reliably cold hardy. I planted 3 in Naperville, IL and 1 died, 1 struggled and lived, and the other was perfectly happy the whole time. Also, I hope that you plant the false dragonhead someplace with restrictions because it’s other name, Obedient Plant is like a horticultural joke as it is anything but that. Anyway, good luck with the landscaping, it’s going to be beautiful!

  • Keren @ ChicTip
    November 12, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    How do you find the time???? I love your graphic designs – I think you are very talented!
    One day my blog might make enough money to hire you ;)

  • Elissa
    November 12, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Beautiful! This sounds like something I would start and then never finish. Congrats on getting it done! I’m just starting to lay out where everything will be in my garden- let alone compiling it all into a guide. Keep an eye on that Obedient plant, though- it’ll start popping up everywhere.

  • Amy I.
    November 12, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    What a great idea! I just came across your blog (and added you on twitter).. your style is impeccable, i’m inspired just looking at your blog’s design :) Looking forward to following along.

  • Anne (in Reno)
    November 12, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    This is a great idea, but make sure to keep it updated, those things can get away from you really easily, especially if you plant lots of different stuff! I keep meaning to do something similar but I have so much stuff in my garden now that I don’t know if I’ll ever catch up!

  • Jessica
    November 12, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Ok Nicole. This is insane. And oh so wonderful.

  • Nicole Balch
    November 12, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Ooh, so many good ideas! I have a sketch of the garden from awhile back – it wouldn’t be very difficult to make it into a garden plan.

    Janice, the fonts are Archer and Scriptorama Hostess.

    And yes, it’s totally insane. And I’m a nerd. ;)

  • Miss B.
    November 12, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    You so need your own show or something, lol! I can not wait to have a garden of my own, this is well…lovely!

  • Lori M.
    November 13, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Something to aspire to! And here are a few things to look forward to in the spring…
    The Oak Park Conservatory has a plant sale – maybe in early May? I went crazy there buying lavender and herbs and other plants I found I couldn’t resist. I also went to the Cheney Mansion plant sale – late spring, early summer. I bought tons of Sweet Peas and built a little tower out of bamboo sticks for them to grow up. What a sweet, old-fashioned scent they had.
    If you like bulbs, I’m very taken with the Old House Gardens heirloom bulbs (www.oldhousegardens.com). They have the dates different cultivars were introduced. I was thinking of getting bulbs only from the 1920s, when our bungalow was built.

  • Ashley S
    November 13, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Hey sis, that guide beautiful! However, being the little sister that I am I feel that it is my duty to inform you that on the lily of the vally page I caught a typo! Lol, no biggie, just thouht you might want to know since it too you so long to make. In your mini-description you put “teh” instead of “the”. K, that’s all! Keep on being awesome!


  • knittinglizzie
    November 14, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    I passed this along to my mother who is a fabulous gardener–

    I printed this off and I am going to start mine this weekend! I love this! Love, Mom

    Thought you’d enjoy that!

  • moderneve
    November 17, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    i desperately want a green thumb, but my backyard has literally been covered in plastic for 6 months. i don’t even know where to begin with the landscaping. i have been following th evolution of your backyard for some time now, and am always so impressed. i love this book and wish i some of my own plants/flowers/tree to catalog.

  • Hygge House » Blog Archive » Where To?
    January 21, 2009 at 4:13 am

    […] Plant Reference Book Yet another great idea from Making it Lovely. […]

  • Coopers+mama
    December 4, 2009 at 12:48 am

    Did you take down the reference. I had bookmarked this page and was planning to come back and check it out. Preety please ‘reactivate’.

    p.s. i LOVE reading your blog.

  • Jess
    December 20, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Do you still have the PDF available anywhere? I just recently discovered your blog, and have been reading from the beginning. I’d love to see more on your garden!

  • prosesh
    May 24, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    How can I download the pdf?

  • Jen N.
    July 25, 2010 at 12:16 am

    You inspire me! My husband and I just bought our own little bungalow just outside of Denver. I would love to adapt some of your outdoor thoughts into our own space. Is this pdf still available somehow?