I try to watch where my various bulbs are. Often, I dig into an area that has bulbs when I am planting annuals or perennials. Does anyone have some suggestions as to how to mark the area so they don't get dug into latter in the summer after their foliage is gone?
Marking Bulb Location
i use plastic knives with the name of the bulb written on them
That would be good if I didn't put my big feet on the knife and break it off!
I wonder if putting some sand on top of the area would work?
Lee Valley Tools catalog has a product called Remember Rings..that I am considering ordering for myself to try for that same reason. Item#PG258 (3 rings for $9.50)..You can write the name of the bulb/color on the inside rim, 10 inches in diameter. Made from UV resistant recycled plastic, these rings remind you where not to step, not to dig or weed and provide a place to record important plant details. You buy the permanent marker pen for another $3.60. They look like they are copper but it states plastic. www.leevalley.com
I've been racking my brain to see if there's something else that I could come up with that would serve the same purpose. Maybe somebody else has some other ideas that would work. I put down zinc markers last year but seems either critters have moved them or the strong winds or they got removed when the landscaper put down the mulch back in Oct.
Pippi: I have cut the top and bottom off of a gallon milk jug and had a similar ring. I used them to "remember" where I had planted larkspur last fall. It worked pretty well. I tried to push them down in the soil. Some of them blew away. I would "stake" them down with landscaping landscape staples--(can't think of their name). Perhaps that would work--now that I see the Lee Valley remember rings.
For years I used a black extra fine point Sharpie to write on plant labels for identification. I noticed that the black ink would fade in nine months to a year, and I would loose all my information. Then I discovered metallic silver Sharpie. This ink has aluminum powder in it, and it won't fade. It's amazing. The ink mark will last longer than the plastic label. I find these on eBay. And I also find the 4 inch plastic plant labels there. Try these. They will work for you. Attached is a picture of one.
Do those plastic plant markers come in green so they would blend in with foliage?
Thanks Cibarius. I will check these out. I have used a slat from a blind and bury the written part into the ground. That works pretty good, but you have to pull it up to find out what's there-not too hard, but then, you have to have a garden trowel to put it back into the ground. Your method seems better. The only problem I see with the labels (and the slat from the blind) is walking over it and breaking it off.
They come in several colors. I have only used white. But do some research on eBay and see what is for sale. Just search for plant labels and see what is offered.
Every year I make a plan with the dimensions and locations of plants. Then I put the diagram into the computer. When I want to see what I planted and where, I just check the computer — and cannot find the file!
However, I make a habit of planting the lily bulbs the deepest and the spring bulbs on top, using the soil and area twice. I'd like to find some nice looking markers to remind me of the variety.
Cathy, I do some of that "computer recording" and then can't find it. This year, I am putting when plants start blooming and when seeds germinated in the "g-mail: calendar and on the kitchen calendar. I also print my stuff out from time to time for fear of loosing the information.
Birder, when I realized that recalling wasn't so easy, I decided to start taking pictures. It's been a lifesaver because they are dated.
Cathy--that's great idea. I have done some of that--but not for the purpose of remembering where something is--but for the enjoyment of looking at the pretty garden at different times of the year.
I am trying to make a four season picture album of my gardens--I think it kind of tells a story. I have looked back at the pictures and noticed a few flowers and where they were-after they have died back. I think I will do more of that for the sole purpose of remembering where stuff has been planted.
Here are a couple more ideas I've read about, but haven't yet tried (maybe this year).
1) Large Rounded Rocks that have the bulb names written or painted on with enamel paint. They blend in and supposedly stay where you put them.
2) Short pieces of Slats from Window Blinds or Mini Blinds, if cut at an angle, should slide into the soil as deeply as you want & they're flexible enough to not break off if you step on them. Stores that sell blinds cut of the ends when they custom-size them for customers. They come in all sorts of colors, though probably most of them are white or off-white.
I, too have used the Plastic Knives quite a bit, but besides stepping on them I tend to find them laying on the ground after winter, sometimes nowhere near where I put them.
I've also tried large Paint Stirrers from the Home Improvement Stores, but they eventually rot & become mulch (not a bad thing).
I've tried other ideas with varying amount of success, but one that has worked reasonably well. . . . though definitely not the ideal solution. . . . is to just not worry about it and if I dig up a bulb by accident, I just stick it back in the ground.
I plan to do more experimenting this year.
I have read about the rock idea, but I am afraid it would get shuffled away from the bulb location. I use the blind idea at present. I write on the blind slat with a wax pencil and then slide it into the ground with the writing in the ground. That way it doesn't "weather off". The problem with that, is you have to pull it up to see what's there and then use a trowel to get it back into the ground. It's do-able but an annoyance. I have used this with my daylilies and it helps me remember which daylily is which. Temps are quite cool here-40's with cold light rain.
Hey, I like that painted rock idea too..making a circle of the painted rocks and placing a metal plant marker inside that ring or square where you have planted the bulbs..It just might work well. Thanks for all the suggestions.
The mini-b;lind plastic can be marked on with a pencil, and it has been permanent for me so far.
I like a fine line, so I use a mechanical pencil. I use the "0.7 mm" instead of "0.5 mm" becuase I don't want the letters to be TOO fine.
I think the "high-polymer" lead from Pentel is a little darker and less fragile than whatever comes in new pencils.
I've tried both "HB" and "B". The "B" might be softer, but does not seem darker to me ... I see little difference between "HB" and "B".
I don't know if itt matters, but I scrub used mini-blinds with Comet and Bon Ami cleanser, thinking that the slight roughness makes pencil mark them darker.
Thanks for the idea about getting scrap plastic from a store that sells blinds! Maybe I'll bring them a potted plant in bloom when I ask.
someone on one of the other threads mentioned they used tongue depressors to mark plants.
Has anyone used the P-Touch labels on the mini-blinds? How did they hold up buried in the ground (the labels not the mini-blind markers)
Corey just sent me a surprise batch of mini-blind markers and I was thinking of using my P-Touch labels.
Sherman99: I've tried both "Tongue Depressors" & the super-large "Paint-Can-Stirrers" that they give out for free at the Home Center stores. They seemed great at first, but I found they had two problems: 1) They rot very quickly & break off at the soil line. 2) They quickly turn dark & get covered with dirt making it difficult to read the names on them.
RickCorey_WA: Thanks for the info on various pencils, etc. Really good info. I've also read the Grease Pencils are excellent.
My husband is planning to make me a bunch of markers like "Lee Valley" & assorted other places have. . . . The type that have two long, very thin rods with a cross-bar to write the name on (probably out of galvanized steel). These have always looked like an excellent & permanent method to me plus they barely show, but are generally expensive. After he makes some I'll report back on how he did it. If they're long enough, they'd be pretty easy to push as deep as you want into the soil.
Paint stirrers are a very convenient size for marking plants. They are big enough to find later in the growing season, and they are big enough to write on. The wood does rot easily in the wet soil. So I have have found a solution to this problem. It is a chemical method that may not appeal to everyone. I use fiberglass resin to coat the wood. I paint it on with a throw-away brush. You can get fiberglass resin in pint cans at the auto parts store. It comes with directions. It will coat the wood and keep the water and wood-rotting microbes out. It will make your wood last for several years in the soil.
Attached is a picture of the labels I am using this year. You can find these same items (without the coatings) by searching eBay for "garden stakes/plant labels." They are orange because they have been stained that color. You can see my resin coating on the pointed end. And I have painted the other end so I can write on it with aluminum paint, which won't fade.
I buy my zinc plant markers from Gardener's Supply. Just ordered 50, so that should hold me for a while. I love the rock idea; wished I could write that pretty on a rock. A gardening friend of mine the other day tells me she marks her bulbs by tying the same color of string/thread as the color of the blooming flower; if she intends to move after the foliage has died down.
Pippi, I have marked the leaves with magic marker describing what color it is. Don't do that! The magic marker was gone by the time I was ready to move my daylilies. I have used ribbon in the past, but was out of ribbon.
Hmmm, Embrodery thread. I have lots of it. That's a good idea.
I have a dull "engineer" system. When there's too many things to write out a long label, I label each with a 1/2-wide mini-blind slat marked in pencil.
Salvias are "S1", S2", etc.
Petunias are "P1", P2", etc.
Penstemon are "Pn1" Pn2", etc.
If I only have a few varieties of something, and not too mnay plants or pots to mark, I'll make the label longer.
BTW, wooden pencils always seem to be blurry or make too thick a mark. So I found "0.7 mm" mechanical pencils. "High polymer lead" breaks less, and seems darker. The "B" or soft lead MIGHT be a tiny bit darker.
0.7 mm is thick enough to read, but fine enough that I can get two lines of text onto a 1/2-wide mini-blind slat, if i wnat to.
I borrowed my son's P-touch label maker(that I bought for him about 5 yrs. ago for Xmas..I'm going to buy a cartridge of laminated tape for using for outdoor labeling. I think it comes in colors too. I'm going to look on their website so I'll know exactly what to buy at the office supply place.
I have used the P-Touch marker system and put it on the metal "T" labels. It works well. However, I have had some of the "T" metal labels for a very long time, and they do rust. Plus, I sometimes step on them. :(
Writing the name of the plant on a mini blind and burying the name in the dirt, leaving about an inch above the ground works pretty well for me. If I forget what the plant is, I pull the blind up, wipe the dirt off, and then, bury the blind again.
I have started using pencil, as Rick suggested. It works much better than magic marker. Pencil does not disappear.
I have tried to save all of my "tag descriptions" that came with the plant when I bought it. I am in the process of putting the information from the tags on a spreadsheet in g-mail documents. I will have easy and quick access to what I planted, the scientific name, and information about the plant in one place. It would be good if I made a column and put the location of this plant also. I am doing this when I can't work in the garden: too cold, too hot etc.
Did you buy labels/ cartridges suited for outdoor use when you made labels to put on the metal ones?
The p-touch labels to use outdoors are laminated. I am not certain if they still make any that are not laminated. The laminate is a clear layer on top of the printing, and that is waterproof. I have not known them to fade. The easiest ones to find in the garden are the tapes with the yellow background. The hardest are the black background.
I got my out door tape from Staples. Mine are clear with black "ink". I should work on that today. It's pretty chilly to be working outside.
I need to buy printer paper anyhow so I'll stop by Staples on Tuesday morning when I go bowling near by. I'd like to find the yellow laminated tape where I can see that print. I have some mystery plants that I must have planted last year that I don't recognize. One is just about to bloom, as I saw some buds on it yesterday. Maybe with the 80 degree weather, it might pop out in blooms today or tomorrow and I might be able to recognize it right away. I can't seem to find a plant label anywhere near it to ID it..The plant markers are for my own use. If anybody wants to know what a specific plant is, I need to be knowledgable. Most plants I recognize, like my DH asked "What's this that looks like a fern?" It is Oriental poppies. Wait till he sees them blooming; he'll realize why I grew them. I want to get some purple plum ones(Lauren's grape)or Patty's purple plum varieties.