What to Do BEFORE You Empty Your Flowerpots

by | Updated: Aug 31, 2021

Camera phone taking photos of beautiful flowers in container garden

It would be awesome to be named “The Perfect Gardener” after a summer of growing flowers — complete with dancing squirrels and a pitch-perfect choir of finches.

But alas, most of us weren’t born with a spade in one hand and a geranium in the other.

So, the next best thing is to find ways to shorten our learning curve for next year.

As we near the end of the summer flowerpot season in western states like Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, it’s a great time to ask…

How’d your flowerpots turn out?

  • Which flowers made your heart sing with joy?
  • Which flowers were duds?
  • What would you do again next year?
  • And what would you change?

Now, before your mind starts shouting:

“Ugggghhhhhh, gardening is so much work!!!”

I say:

Keep it simple, baby.

You can do this on your phone with just a few pics.

If you’re feeling ambitious, add in a couple of helpful notes in between sips of your favorite pumpkin spice latte.

Here are 3 ways to keep this simple

(1) Take a quick photo of each flowerpot with your phone

Don’t worry about getting the lighting perfect.

These photos are just to help you remember what you planted and how your container garden turned out.

If you want to stop here, that’s fine.

You’ve got a good visual record for next year.

If you like to stay organized, add the photos to a new album on your phone.

Name the album something easy to remember like: Flowers 2021.

Tip: Feel free to use photos you took earlier in the season, especially if that’s when your container garden looked prettiest. Or, if you want to see the growth of your pots, it’s always fun to include a “just planted” image from early in the summer and a late season image (like a before and after).

(2) If you saved your plant tags (when you bought your plants), snap photos of those too

Saving the plant tags is a simple way to keep track of the flower varieties you bought, particularly if:

  • You loved a specific flower OR
  • You don’t want to repeat a specific flower next year

If you didn’t save your plant tags this year, no worries. You can do it next year.

Tip: You also can snap these photos when you plant your containers.

You can group the plant tags to make them easier to remember, but you don’t have to be this structured.

Here are a few ways to group them:

  • Group your plant tags into “winners” and “duds” (flowers you loved and flowers you wouldn’t repeat)
  • Group your plant tags by flowerpot

Here’s an example of organizing the plant tags by flowerpot:

Container garden tags organized by flowerpot for easy reference

If you have a bazillion photos in your phone, like me, and you want to stay organized:

  • Add these photos of your plant tags to your “Flowers 2021” folder.

That way, you’ll have them at your fingertips when you go back to the garden center next year. And, you’ll know EXACTLY which flowers you bought.

(3) Jot down anything you want to remember in your Notes app

It can be helpful to add notes on your phone, so they’re easily accessible next year too.

But, if you prefer to write them out or type them on your computer, feel free to do that instead! You can always take a photo of your notes.

If you’re wondering what to write down, here are a few questions to consider:

  • Which flowers did you really like? (Why?)
  • Which flowers were duds? (Why?)
  • Which flowers were too much work?
  • Which flowers got gobbled up by Japanese beetles, deer or other critters?
  • What would you do again in future flowerpots?
  • What would you do differently?

You don’t have to turn into Leo Tolstoy here and write a 1200-page novel. There’s no need to answer ALL these questions or write notes about every flowerpot.

Just note what you want to remember.

Make your thoughts as short as you want.

Don’t know the names of the flowers in your containers?

No worries!

You can say “the purple flower” or “the lime-green vine.” You’ll have the photo to go with your note, so you can see what it looks like.

(BTW, this is another bonus to saving the plant tags. They help you learn plant names.)

Here are examples of notes I’ve taken this year

What flowerpot notes look like - flowers to repeat for next year
What container garden notes look like for flowers you wouldn't repeat

Now, you’ll have everything easily organized on your phone

You’ll be able to quickly pull up your photos and notes when you start thinking about planting next spring.

You’ll be able to avoid anything that may have gone slightly awry this summer.

And if you’d like, you can repeat the flowers that looked really, really good.

Because we are all about gardening smarter, not harder, am I right?

Related topics that may interest you:

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© 2020-2021, Go West Gardener
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Ann from Go West Gardener with her flowerpots and garden

Hey there, I'm Ann

I’m a Certified Colorado Gardener, dog mama and Midwesterner-turned-Colorado girl. I help budding gardeners in the intermountain west get more confident with flower gardening, so you can create an outdoor space you love. More about Ann >>

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