Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Importance of Labeling Plants

by Megan Bucknum and Michele Sokoloff

How can we expect to preserve and protect biodiversity if we don’t even know the names of the plants and animals that share our neighborhood?”
                                                            - Robert Bateman, Wildlife Artist

As gardeners, we tend to focus on wht plants to put in our gardens, when to plant them, how to care for them and how to harvest them. Identifying the plants that we care for, often gets lost in the shuffle. There is actually merit in marking your crops or perennials.

Having signs that mark the names of your plants right in your garden, can act as an invitation for people to come and interact with the growing space.  These signs can bring knowledge about the plants to a more equal ground, resulting in worthwhile conversations.  Plant markers act as an education tool for any garden. People can walk past at their leisure and identify plants that they may not be familiar with or learn more about the fruits and vegetables with which they are already familiar.
The importance of labeling plants is reflected in the definition of a “botanic garden.” The characteristic of a botanic garden is one that includes “adequate labeling of plants.”  The rationale behind this is based in both education as well as a more broad conservation effort.  When more people understand the names and characteristics of plants found within nature,  greater consciousness and actions towards conservation can result.  
While you might not feel that your modest garden is contributing to global conservation efforts, even a small gesture is important. Your time and energy might very well help others learn more about the diverse flora found within their neighborhood and on our globe.  
Plant identification signage also adds an extra level of aesthetics to your garden, as well as showcasing some of your own creativity.  Here are some ideas about creating signage for your garden:
Garden Markers
 There are many different ways to mark plants that are available on the market as well as great ideas to make your own signs.

  1. Paw Paw Everlast Label Company:  This company specializes in metal stakes and labels for a very professional look in your garden. Every imaginable size.
  1. Paint-Stick Plant Markers:  Grab some paint sticks at your local hardware store or paint store for a great DIY plant marker idea.Cut them in half if they are too high. Many paint stores are willing to give you a nice amount of those sticks.
  2. Spoons-a-Plenty:  Have some extra spoons at your house?  Check out this link for a great idea of how to re-purpose spoons and some old magazine clippings.
  3. Give a Stone a Face-Lift:  Go rock hunting.  Paint some flat rocks to give a unique DIY look to your garden. Invite some kids to help.
  4. Resurrected Vinyl Blinds:  If vinyl blinds are no longer being used within your home, grab some scissors and markers. Take them outside.
  5. Happy Hour in the Garden:  Don’t just recycle (or throw away) your corks. Drill a hole in them, attach to a stick and then mark your plants.
  6. Popsical Sticks: Always a-plenty and perfect for marking plants.
  7. Twig Plant Markers: Carved by artist, Geoffrey Fisher, who harvests the wood from fallen trees in England. No living tree is used and no tree is intentionally hurt in the
Do you have an idea that you have used that is not on this list?  Use the comment section below to share your great ideas!

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