A garden inventory is a useful tool. With a well-thought-out inventory, you can quickly assess which species you currently manage, as well as store notes about the performance and cultivation requirements of each plant. A garden inventory may be elaborate, using computer software and digital images, but a notebook with hand-drawn notes is a simple, portable project.
Assemble a garden inventory notebook with a binder containing graph paper, page-pocket inserts for photos and plastic page protectors to protect pages from garden grime. A binder is useful because you can add or replace pages as necessary as you develop your inventory.
Walk through your landscape, and make drawings of your various flower beds, borders and other areas where you have plants growing. Let your artistic abilities guide you, but simple outlines and relative sizes of species and plant groupings should suffice. This map won't be set in stone. Over time you'll make additions and remove plantings, but having a rough idea of where your garden stands is a good way to start.
Label the areas of your map with the plant names within those zones. Use colored pencils to indicate what color of plant is present for future reference.
Take photographs of the various landscape features and garden beds until you have a comprehensive photo catalog of the areas you wish to inventory.
Add these photos and drawings to your binder notebook, organizing the information in such a way that is functional for you. You may want to group the main landscape photos together, then include a section with the individual specimens. Use the photo-pocket pages to protect your images.
Include a list of all the plants you wish to track in your landscape. Note the common name, Latin name, the time you planted the specimen, where it was purchased and any other information that is valuable to you, such as when to prune, fertilize, divide or other cultivation information. If you save seeds, note that in your inventory (their age and how many you have), so you don't make unnecessary purchases the next year.