Do Labels Make a Botanical Garden?

Well I guess I’d have to say no they don’t. But they sure do add the look of one to a garden. I recently decided that it would be nice to have labels on all my plants. I’m getting quite a large collection for this 1/8 of an acre city lot – over 200 varieties, 156 species, 129 genera and 56 families, from all over the world almost. That’s quite a lot to keep track of and the labels really do help me even tho I personally know most all of the plants in the  garden. But I got fancy with labels. I got a printer that prints labels on weather proof tape and a bunch of black plastic stakes with a good sized head on them and of a decent size, not too big not too small, and got to work. I decided to try to be as scientific as I could so I started with the common name, then the botanical name in Latin, then the Latin family name and finally the country of origin, as well as I could determine that. I figure that’s what most Botanical Gardens I’ve seen have so why not try for the best?

It took me the better part of a couple of weeks to make the 220 labels I made ( I have some duplicates and wanted to cover all bases) and the white print on the black tape looks good on the black stakes so they actually look pretty professional I think. I had to be very precise in checking my spelling a couple of times before I printed each label because tho I know some Latin of course it’s a tricky language to always spell correctly and I didn’t want mistakes of course. But now when visitors come over they can know what they’re seeing. It adds a whole other dimension to the garden that I find wonderful.

I’ve had a dream of establishing a Botanical Garden since I was in high school and even bought 40 acres in the mountains thinking I could do it there. But I got fooled by the realtor and my water supply of a huge pond turned out to be more of a wetland that went down to mud every summer so I didn’t really have the water and could never afford a well. Plus it was in a high desert mountain area where a lot of plants wouldn’t grow so I basically chose a place to have a wonderful retreat but not a botanical garden, tho I did grow some nice veggie gardens hauling water while I lived there for 5 years homesteading. But as a Botanical Garden it was a broken dream.

So you live and learn, and when I moved into a house that had room for a garden I took advantage of the opportunity and started planning and planting. I admit I went with my gut as much as a plan and chose things I loved rather than strictly according to some design but it turned out more than OK and more than that it’s lovely I think and so do the many visitors I’ve had since I began it just 3 years ago. I just did the labels and it’s fall so I doubt I’ll get to show them off for awhile yet but come spring I’ll have the chance to let people in again and they can see them and know what they’re seeing for a change. I have some really unusual and some rare plants here and it helps to have a scorecard I think. At least I hope people think so. And the project gave me something interesting to do for awhile as the rains started and it became hard to get out in the garden.

Most of the pictures on this site don’t have the labels showing cause I didn’t have them then, but as I add pictures with them in them I’ll put them up and see if you can read them. I sorta doubt it for the most part except in rare cases like the one I posted at the top of this page. I did that so you could see what they looked like a little bit. Kinda cool eh? Anyway it may not make it a Botanical Garden but they add a touch of something special to this Garden in Greenwood and I’m so glad I’ve done it. I encourage those of you who have similar feelings to go for it. It’ll make you feel good and that’s a  lot of why we garden isn’t it? Or is it just us super plant freaks who have to Know what they’re looking at who care about this? I dunno the answer to that but I’ve always wanted to know the names of the plants I see so it matters to me. And it’s my garden so I guess that settles it eh? Ah well. It’s all cool.

Happy labeling,

Steve

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