I’ve seen a lot of cute ideas for garden tags on Pinterest and other websites recently. It seems like everyone has some cute crafty idea for labeling one’s garden plants – corks, chalkboard paint, stamped metal tags.
All of these ideas are intended to fashionably replace those little plastic tags that come from the nursery or garden center.
The only problem is that getting rid of those garden tags is like tossing out the owner’s manual. Most of these tags contain helpful information about your new plants.
Common tags will tell you a lot about the heat, light, and water needs of your plants. Many also bear information about fertilizing and blooming schedules, and what the upper and lower temperature zone for the plant is. Some even provide suggestions on other plants that will mix well in the same garden space.
Toss these out, and you lose valuable information on the needs of your garden – like when to fertilize, when to take cuttings, and when you should move the plant indoors for fall.
At a minimum, the tags probably contain the exact genus and species of the plant you have. This can be important because there are hundreds of varieties of mint, dozens of lavender, and a never-ending spate of thyme crosses. Some of these varieties are very similar. However, some of them were bred specifically to grow in a compact form, or to encourage a spreading vine-like behavior, or to make the plant more heat-resistant.
It’s helpful to know these things. Nevertheless, the plastic tags are not very attractive. So I have another suggestion.
Find a container of some sort. (I had this old mis-matched sugar bowl in a box bound for Goodwill. It has a good shape and some vintage charm to it.)
Gather your dirty tags, and wash them. Luckily most of them are plastic and water proof!
Next, snip off the pointy end, and any other parts that are irrelevant and don’t have information you need.
Dry them off, and put them in your container. Voila!
Now put the pot outside on your potter’s bench or somewhere, and flip through them like a deck of cards every month to see what you should think about for your pants in the upcoming days.
They can be especially valuable to have on hand when “something weird” starts to happen with one of your plants. I recently had a hosta plant start to get black marks on the leaves. When I consulted its little card, I realized it was not “part sun” like I had thought, but rather “part sun/shade.” They were actually burn marks on the leaves – poor thing! I moved it over to another spot on the deck, and it seems like a much happier plant!