The Joy of Journaling

I first began journaling when I just a teenager. Over time my journals began to focus on topics such as gardening, my small wine collection, travel, and bits of wisdom collected from diverse experiences and a life focused on education and discovery.  It takes a bit of discipline but I have found it to be one of the most rewarding efforts in my life. Imagine being able to look back andreconnect with the exact emotions you were feeling the morning of your wedding, or the day you lost a parent, or your first love, or the birth of your child. These events shape us and there is often a clarity of purpose and meaning in these moments that can be obscured by the day to day trails and stresses of life. I encourage you to give this gift to yourself, your present voice speaking to your future self. You are certain to fine it adds to the depth and richness of your life.

Here are a few pages from a journal I began in 1988 while living in New York City and studying the history of fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It quickly transformed itself into my garden journal when I moved to Richmond, Virginia and began to cultivate my first garden in a decade. It has been a place to record lessons learned, inspirations, sketches of ideas, and photos of some of my brighter moment as a gardener. I hope it inspires you to do your own garden journal.                                       Gary Inman

The Story behind this beauty is one of dedication and learning.

The Story behind this beauty is one of dedication and learning.

Peonies are my favorite flower. I grew up with these as a child and can still remember the first time I became aware of their heavenly fragrance! I always have an explosion of blooms in my spring garden.

Peonies are my favorite flower. I grew up with these as a child and can still remember the first time I became aware of their heavenly fragrance! I always have an explosion of blooms in my spring garden.

My Garden Journal in chocolate linen and a wonderfully textured hand-made paper.

My Garden Journal in chocolate linen and a wonderfully textured hand-made paper.

A sketch I did as a student at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1989. I spent weeks sketching costumes and renderings of costumes in the museum's vast collection. 

A sketch I did as a student at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1989. I spent weeks sketching costumes and renderings of costumes in the museum's vast collection. 

French lavender seems to adore my Virginia garden, it is always an incredible performer. The bees love it and I always get a good crop of lavender for my sachets which I place in the drawers of antique chests and closets. I also often add these to a client's homes when installing a major renovation. It is a meaning gift from my garden to their home.

French lavender seems to adore my Virginia garden, it is always an incredible performer. The bees love it and I always get a good crop of lavender for my sachets which I place in the drawers of antique chests and closets. I also often add these to a client's homes when installing a major renovation. It is a meaning gift from my garden to their home.

Each year I vary the plantings in the largebed in front of my home on Monument Avenue. I view these flowers as a gift to the city, and to the many tourists that frequent the historic district to admire the elegant early 20th Century architecture.

Each year I vary the plantings in the largebed in front of my home on Monument Avenue. I view these flowers as a gift to the city, and to the many tourists that frequent the historic district to admire the elegant early 20th Century architecture.

A sketch of the layout of my herb garden a few years ago. I now prefer to plant my herbs in pots for better drainage and I love the visual effect. Herbs prefer either raised beds or pots for good drainage.

A sketch of the layout of my herb garden a few years ago. I now prefer to plant my herbs in pots for better drainage and I love the visual effect. Herbs prefer either raised beds or pots for good drainage.

A page filled with dreams and musing, some realized, others living only on paper.

A page filled with dreams and musing, some realized, others living only on paper.

Hollyhocks against my stucco garden wall. When we purchased the house the garden wall was an unsightly concrete block. We had our friend, James Butler, stucco the wall to match one I had fallen in love with in Oxford, then planted hollyhocks and blue delphinium. Unfortunately I learned that these perennials can not withstand the hot, humid Richmond summers so these lasted only a few years. But what a glorious joy they were! Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "while I'm an old man I am but a young gardener." Live and learn Mr. Jefferson, and I'm still journaling, still learning, still experimenting.  Happy Journaling to you my dear readers!  

Hollyhocks against my stucco garden wall. When we purchased the house the garden wall was an unsightly concrete block. We had our friend, James Butler, stucco the wall to match one I had fallen in love with in Oxford, then planted hollyhocks and blue delphinium. Unfortunately I learned that these perennials can not withstand the hot, humid Richmond summers so these lasted only a few years. But what a glorious joy they were! Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "while I'm an old man I am but a young gardener." Live and learn Mr. Jefferson, and I'm still journaling, still learning, still experimenting.  Happy Journaling to you my dear readers!