Who Needs Pinterest?


I mentioned in my post on Sunday that I had been sorting through garden related paperwork over Christmas and how if I was to have any New Year’s resolutions it would be to keep better records.  Since then I have been stream lining the chaotic pile of paper.  I now have a propagation recording book and have entered some sowing records from the other week, who knows I may even remember to use it past March this year, a diary and a couple of notebooks which I take to meetings or garden visits to record those essential plant names and tips in.

However, I was left with a pile of magazines with various page corners turned over and also a pile of magazine cuttings.  So I have decided to take a retro approach and scrap-book them in a kind of pre-Pinterest way.


It’s amazingly therapeutic cutting out articles and pictures and sticking them into a book with the odd note.  For me its a real trip back to my childhood.  My mother has a photograph of me aged about 6 sitting in bed, cutting out things from magazines.  I was a sickly child suffering with tonsillitis, asthma and sinusitis until I had an operation around the age of 7 and I used to be ill in bed quite a lot.  I think this was my mother’s idea of entertainment, it is certainly something which is strangely comforting to me to do.


So in my gardening scrapbook I am including bits on plants that look interesting, images of gardens that appeal to me or where I particularly like a planting combination and interesting garden projects.  In some cases I have cut out a whole article such as the one on hardy orchids above but in others like the one on a French garden I have just cut out those images that appeal and made a note of where the garden is and its web address – who knows one day I may get to visit.

I think so far it is quite attractive and is certainly something I will look through unlike my Pinterest boards which I have no trouble adding to but rarely look back through (so what’s the point!).  I am so pleased with it that I might do the same for the embroidery and other crafting magazines I have.


30 Comments Add yours

  1. kate says:

    Hiya Helen – how interesting because I’m also an inveterate collector of clippings; with me, it’s probably the journalistic background, or maybe inherited because my mother did it too. Or maybe that should be ‘was’, because I’m using Pinterest in almost exactly the same way, only much more often. I can’t tell you the last time I went through my files, but I pop onto Pinterest all the time. Mind you, I also use it as a work marketing tool so my more personal (aka interesting) boards are ‘secret’…

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Kate
      I love Pinterest for the inspiration but I pin indiscriminately and am rubbish at looking back.

  2. I agree there is something oddly therapeutic about collecting & scrapping cuttings. I always add the mag/paper they came from & the date.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Julie
      That would be a sensible addition for me to introduce, thank you

  3. What a great idea. I try to keep a garden diary,mainly propagating related,but I also record the weather… however my good intentions tend to tail off ,sometime in mid-summer…..l also have a separate notebook for noting plant purchases and whereabouts I plant them ,also used for recording garden visits etc.
    As a child I used to cut recipes from magazines and paste them into a book!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Sue
      I need to record what I buy and where I plant it – or even make a note of what is planted where in the first place. I have a box of plant labels and I am sure half the plants no longer exist so I should really go through it.

  4. mossfighter says:

    Thanks for this post, what a marvellous idea. I too use Pinterest but only seem to add to it, I rarely have time to view it. The conversational tone that you have makes reading your posts a pleasure.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      hi Steve
      Thank you, I tend to write as though I am talking to someone, must come from a lifetime of writing letters to friends

  5. sueturner31 says:

    Hi Helen. This is something close to my heart …I’ve been doing this for years and it’s great looking back at what you have done in the past and have forgotten about..it sort of spurs you on again.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Sue
      I think I will be doing this much more

  6. Julie says:

    Hi Helen, this is lovely, I’ve spent the past few days putting every plant label from my box of labels onto an excel spreadsheet. It doesn’t look very nice and wasn’t any fun to do. It would have been a lot more enjoyable doing it the old fashioned way with a notebook and photos.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Julie
      I think sometimes it is nice to do something that doesn’t involve a lot of technology

  7. And you don’t need an internet connection to view the, either! Maybe those of us who enjoy embroidery and gardening are simply analogue-type people at heart..

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Rachel
      I think that is part of the enjoyment, it’s more tactile and no screens involved

  8. jenhumm116 says:

    Hi Helen, this all looks very neat and beautiful!
    I put articles in a big lever arch files with different sub headings like “Gardens” “Plants” and I put all my seeds on an annual spreadsheet (well over 100 last year). But where I do fall down is recording where I plant things. With annuals it’s obvious and doesn’t matter, but for cosseted perennials (especially grown from seed) they tend to get planted and forgotten! You’ve inspired me to add a new “Planting record” to my file. Thank you.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jen
      I am rubbish at recording where I plant things, it’s next in my list of improvements.

  9. Anna says:

    I have hundreds (or so it seems) of scraps of garden related cuttings from magazines and newspapers as well as a small pile of discarded notebooks filled with plant names on one page but then grocery shopping lists on the next page. I have planned to sort it all into some logical system for some considerable time and will have to get a grip soon. I like your scrapbook idea Helen. It’s been a long, long time since I had one 🙂 I think that Pininterest is also great as a method for storing online inspiration,

  10. Anna says:

    P.S. I hit post before I had finished. Was just going to add that using diaries for recording gardening information does not work for me. Most years entries stop in the spring – presumably because I’m too busy outside to find time for writing.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Anna
      When I look back at my notebooks I am often perplexed by the strange plant names I have written often in the dark of a meeting. In another world I would be good and do as Lloyd tells us and transcribe my notes on my return but I doubt there are many of us that would have time to really do that.
      I suspect you have hit upon the reason why many of us have wonderful notebooks in the winter but non-existence in the spring and summer, we are all too busy gardening

  11. alison says:

    What a source of inspiration your blog is – and a trip down memory lane for me as well. Your garden scrapbook looks really good, so neat and very eye catching too. I keep a large lever arch file going of cuttings from magazines, papers etc and every now and again (in the sun, at the end of the day, with a glass of wine works well) go through it, if only to tidy it up! I also have my garden journal to refer to, my list of plants in the garden, oh, and a box of plant labels! Look forward to hearing more about your scrapbook.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Alison
      That is such a nice thing that you find my blog inspiring. I just write about things that interest me or I come across

  12. A wonderful idea Helen….I have been thinking about trying to use a paper and pencil way of keeping track of the garden as I never quite got into Pinterest.

  13. rusty duck says:

    Many months ago I started trying to compile a database with all the plants I had on my want list. The trouble is I never look at that either probably because it is so uninspirational. Your scrapbook is so much better!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi RD
      I think the photos remind you why you liked a plant, whereas a list of names doesn’t inspire as you can’t remember why you liked a plant

  14. I have a stack of garden journals but have never figured out what to do with my clippings, so thanks. I think you are a printer son or not. I am addicted to piles of paper!

    1. That was supposed to say “print person”

  15. Donna says:

    Brilliant post Helen, which put me in mind of a recent GQT programme about the importance of collecting and archiving the records of famous gardeners and garden designers. A lot of the best examples of their work is lost due to the ephemeral nature of gardens. See this link about this work at http://www.gardenmuseum.org.uk/page/design-archive

  16. Nothing more satisfying than getting organized with our bits and pieces. I applaud your solution.

  17. Sarah says:

    I have lots of notebooks full of lists of plants I want to grow and planting plans of new flower beds. I have to say they get a bit mud smeared and mud smeared as I take them round with me and invariably end up weeding and watering! I wouldn’t be without them though

  18. I keep quite detailed garden diaries which tend to run out every year in August (when I run out of interest!). Don’t have one for last year which is telling. I think it is a very interesting point you make about looking back at Pinterest. Like you, I don’t! I used to love scrapbooking as a child. Maybe thats the way to go!

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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