Label making ideas for the Garden



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Plant Labeling Ideas

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Spring Garden Tour
April 5, 2009

Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour
Sunday, May 3, 2009

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April 18, 2009

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Celebrating California's beauty in dry times (a two day symposium on Native Plant Gardening), March 28-29, 2009
Garden visitors will want to know the scientific and common names for your CA native plants. Please label your plants so that you will not have to repeatedly identify them during the tour. Use size 14 or larger font, and keep the signage 4" x 6" or smaller. Include scientific and common names. If desired, you can add additional plant info or photos. Photos and native plant info can be obtained from nursery websites such as Yerba Buena Nursery for personal use. Here are several ideas for plant labels:
  • Most expensive and most permanent: Botanical plant labels from Precision Sign Systems. Each sign plus mounting stake costs around $6.

  • Metal rose markers from Lee Valley Tools, or metal plant markers from Burpee's. Search online for sources, or check your local nursery. You can use a label machine (such as a Brother P-Touch) to print laminated labels to stick on them. You can also write on these with permanent pencil.

  • Microsoft Word has a "mail merge" function (under Tools) that allows you to use a list of plant names and related info (in an Excel spreadsheet) to incorporate into labels. Use 4 x 6 cardstock with the envelope function and maybe add a photo of the plant in bloom. Or use the label function, perhaps with the '5164 shipping label' template, which will give 6 labels per page. Print to heavy paper and trim to size with a paper cutter. To make this more permanent, get them laminated. Lakeshore Learning (a store with children's educational toys on Bascom Ave. in San Jose) has a 3 foot wide laminator where you can do it yourself for only about 20 cents an inch. Attach cards to popsicle sticks with staples, or insert into 1/2" x 6" bamboo stakes that have been split at the top.

  • River stones can be written on with a permanent paint pen. These pens, made by Elmers, Rustoleum and others, can be purchased from craft stores, or OSH. You can always hide the sign when not needed by inverting the stone!

  • You can get labels from by mail. Use the "E" series in 10", 15", or 20" heights. They cost from $0.70 each in 25-quantity to $0.50 each in 100-quantity. Don't write on them because it usually isn't that visible and you can't change them in the future. Instead use a Brother label maker with Brother TZ tapes in 18mm width, black ink on white background. (Don't use clear tapes!) Use 2 rows of text to fill the tape, use the top row for the scientific name and the bottom row for the common name. These labels last for years outside. This approach will give a very clean look that is easy to read