All month long I've been waiting for the snow to melt so that I could take actual pictures of actual plant labels for this month's Garden Blogger's Design Workshop: Plant Labels. Truth be told, early in the month I had an opportunity but my laziness got the best of me and since then, the ground has been blanketed by a foot or so of snow. Now, here it is the last day of the month and I'm forced to just tell you about my plant labels, with almost no no visual aid. So, get your imaginations out. You're gonna need them!
Maybe I'm a dork but I really like the labels that come on the store-bought plants. They come with a picture of what the plant is supposed to look like, how big they'll get and the light and water requirements right there in plain view.
For my backyard garden plants, I typically cut these tags off and stuff them right in the dirt in front of said plant. I haven't been gardening long enough to recognize plants not in bloom and God knows my memory is so bad I can't ever recall what I've planted where, so this works for me.
For my plants in the front garden, I usually just leave the tags right on the plant. It always reminds me of Minnie Pearl wearing tags on her hats but that's not why I do it. The truth is that my neighbors are gardeners, too, and they're usually just about as excited when I plant new crap as I am. They like to know what the new stuff is so I leave the tags on the plants and tell them they're free to roam through the beds checking out the goods anytime they want.
I've made many plant labels from mini-blinds. If you buy the cheap mini-blinds from Target, KMart et al like I do, you probably have the same issue of the blinds being way too long. You can disassemble the bottom of the blinds, remove the extra ones and reassemble them. Then, just cut the blinds into 3 inch (or whatever size you like) pieces making the end pointed like an arrow so that they are easy to stick in the dirt. I used these for many of the annuals that I grew from seed this year. They work well because they're plastic and won't decompose outside. And, you're also recycling by using materials you already have on-hand instead of buying new stuff.
I have one pack of fancy metal labels (pictured above) that GB bought for me soon after I became obsessed with gardening. The trouble is that I can't decide which are the 10 most important plants that deserve this level of fanciness, so they've sat, unused, for nearly 2 years.
Writing right on the container labels
Last year I went bananas with winter sowing and even though I'd read that I ought to be careful writing on my plastic milk jugs I'd planted seeds in, I didn't really listen. So, in the springtime, the writing had faded and I found myself with a dozen or so containers of unknown seedlings. Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to try to figure out where to transplant seedlings when you've no idea if what's growing will be 12 inches, or 6 feet? If you wintersow, be sure to place a label inside the container.
As you can see, I've got a motley crew of plant labels. The truth is that I'm still not convinced that I even like plant labels. On the garden walk, I loved the gardens with nice labels so I'd know what I was looking at, and be able to make notes of the things I liked a lot. But, I also really really love magazine gardens where the unnamed plants are just there looking beautiful. If I had my druthers, I'd be a plant expert who could name every plant in my garden (and yours) regardless of the season and not even need no stinkin plant labels.
So, what do you think? Thumbs up or thumbs down on plant labels?