Mouse Tombstones

Doing this…

I must identify each and every Wave petunia!

leads to this…

and this…

Unfortunately, the second and third photo are from a college teaching and display garden. There are a lot of inexpensive yet more attractive ways to relate plant identification to your visitors.

We all do this, of course, to some extent in our home gardens. Walk around with weird plant in hand, dig hole, stick it in, say to self "I’ll come back and get that label to add to my (pick one) Excel garden database/bag of random tags/photographic memory."

Typically, most of mine end up on top of the washing machine from cleaning out pants pockets. Not exactly a good record-keeping system.

Tags as tombstones: during spring mulching, I’ll typically find a few half-buried, printed with, oh, Maybehardii maybenotus – Plant Delights Nursery $25.  Said plant is nowhere to be seen. Dang.

10 thoughts on “Mouse Tombstones”

  1. Ha ha! Maybehardii… I’ve tried more than a few of those from PDN over the year… and yet I’m always planting a new one.

  2. I think I’ve plugged a few of those in my garden, too !

    Those mouse tombstones – I try not to put them in, swearing I’m going to find the ultimate plant tagging method that can resist both the relentless Western summer sun & the mossy dampness of our winters. No luck so far. Each Spring I still spend a day in the yard re-writing the specifics of various specimen on zinc tags w/ “permanent, weather-proof” marker.

  3. Ha Ha! Nice scientific name! I love making those up! It fools people into thinking I’m smarter than I really am. Well, with 27 acres, you’d think I’d have a better system in place, but I pile my tags into a folder and then in the dead of our rainy NW winter, out they come to be entered into my ‘database’ with me trying to remember where on earth I planted the darn things. I guess some things are common to all gardeners!

  4. A friend of mine used to say he had a great memory, it was just short. I wish I was so fortunate. I have a pile of plant tags stashed in a box, yet I still have no clue which echinacea is which. I convinced myself long ago that the zinc tags were a bit pretentious for my ramshackle garden, so now I’m blissfully ignorant.

  5. I much prefer my method of putting the tombstones in ziploc bags by categories ie. daylilies/grasses/roses etc. Then its a game to see if I can find the plant again. I also established several years ago a three strikes rule: if the same plant dies after planting/re-planting three times I will not buy again.
    Though I am a hosta collector and I will make the metal tags before I plant those plants out.

  6. I think decorative metal plant tags are an EXCELLENT idea for stocking stuffers, Easter baskets, etc. for gardener
    s. I’m adding them to my list!

  7. I too use the pants-pocket filing system, much to my husbands’ (head launderer) irritation. He places them in the “circular file”; much of my spring is spent perusing computer databases to identify returning plants.

  8. I try to put all the tags from an “area” of my garden together in a little cheap photo album I keep in my tool bucket. All the tags in one pocket with the tag from a shrub or perennial I recognize on top so I know which area I’m looking at.

  9. Love all the ideas and comments! The “area” idea from Gretchen is good. My problem with any kind of stake or tag, metal or otherwise, is the hens dig them up and they end up under the mower at some point. Dave and I shall have to remain blissfully ignorant.

  10. 15 years ago, I swore I would have name tags in my new garden. About a week later, while enjoying my morning coffee, I watched an industrious crow pull out the tags. I took the hint.

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