Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Sun, 26 Jan 2014 11:24:12 PST
Regarding provenance, I think it's useful to keep a paper record as 
well as a database. Those of us who have been around a while 
(remember FORTRAN? Or keypunching?) know that old digital information 
can become inaccessible. Keeping the seed lists from which we ordered 
seeds many years ago, with our handwritten notes on them, can be 
helpful in tracing data that might otherwise be forgotten. For 
instance, when I recently updated my database after moving to a new 
home, I went back and added geographical origin to a number of 
entries for which I had formerly included only the collectors and 
years. The file of dusty old seed lists allowed me to do this. I also 
print out my database once a year so I can put the hard copy on a 
clipboard and check it against what's actually still alive, or check 
identification and location.

Now that my protected bulbs are in raised beds instead of pots, it's 
a little easier to keep track of where they are, though I had a 
numbered grid system for the pots too. On the other hand, in the beds 
it is all too easy for the labels to get buried, and I can't read 
them at a distance (I use embossed aluminum labels). I've started 
putting the labels on groundcloth pins to avoid this problem, and am 
using these where feasible in the garden too.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

Paul Licht wrote
>Dylan highlights a very important and often unappreciated aspect of plant
>collections; namely, the origin of plants and associated data (provenance).

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