The Noble Art of Labelling


One of the disciplines I try to instil on my clients is the importance of accurate labelling.  Let me give you an example.  The above is a tulip, no need for years of study to work that one out.  But what, however, is the cultivar or species name?  If I don’t know then it will be difficult to buy more/avoid like the plague/give this information to admiring passers-by, which ever is most relevant.  When this flower has finished its glorious display and died back into the soil until next year, how you will you know where is it if it isn’t marked?  Do you really think you are going to remember?  Well dream on Sunshine!  I promise you will soon be saying, with a vague sweep of the arm “I am sure I planted them over there somewhere” seconds before sticking your fork right through the middle of a plump bulb.

It is also imperative to carefully mark bags of over-wintering corms, tubers and the like as quite frankly one gnarled old bit of root looks pretty much like any other.  Without names you will be clueless as to where will be the best place to replant and when, how deeply and how far apart.

Of course your stash of garden collected seed must also be carefully logged, with full name, the location where it was harvested and date.

There are are good pupils.

This is an example of Lord Mantle’s labelling.

Some less so.


I suppose I should feel fortunate that there was actually writing on this bag, there were some that Lady M had kindly left blank for me to identify.  She is now in detention writing “I will label all my plants, I will label all my plants …” one thousand times!  Lord M is excused homework.


22 thoughts on “The Noble Art of Labelling

  1. A kindred spirit! I now label just about everything in the garden, not just bulbs but herbaceous perennials too so I can identify the tiny emerging shoots in spring. (I wrote, at longer length, about it a while back at if I may plug.) Advancing age also goes hand in hand with receding memory. Though I don’t write labels – I’ve invested in a labelling machine as the labels don’t wash off. At this time of year I reuse labels I made years ago on bedding plants in the greenhouse. Wiping them off and organising them (with an accompanying bottle of wine) is a pleasurable pastime on the patio in the summer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, definitely every bloomin’ thing! Once when I had my own decent sized garden, on winters day, I was asked by my beloved if we were growing white plastic labels in the garden. Cheeky! 🙂


  2. I hereby promise to label everything even my knickers
    Sincerely yours with not a trace of a smirk on my face
    Lady Mantle x
    P’s I was very naughty at school too


  3. A beautiful tulip and a timely tip – now do you have any suggestions on how to stop the pesky birds pulling my labels up and leaving them in the wrong place?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You will see by my enthusiastic activation of the “Like” stars above that I share the labeling experiences of other gardeners. The darn labels seem to be able to levitate and end up far from where they should be. Also, the breakage is considerable–you are lucky you only have to hold two ends together, as they can break up into many more pieces.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a love hate relationship with white plastic labels. I don’t like to see them in the garden, during the winter months, especially as they very quickly become brittle and unreadable. But perhaps even more annoyingly when they seem to move around on their own accord. The jury is still out, but I think I come down on the side of no labels, and taking photo’s instead.


  6. 🙂 But it’s such a different situation labeling seeds packages versus keeping proper labels in the garden. I have tried many methods over the years and in the garden the only solution is – to RE-label periodically. Even more work…


  7. I have black labels and a chalk pen – the writing’s still on and legible 3 years on. Plus it’s snazzy & satisfies my terrible need for neatness and a pretence that someone/anyone other than me will be interested! Doesn’t stop jackdaws pulling them up & strewing ’em around though.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ah, come on. One has to change arrangements from time to time. In earlier gardening years, this was achieved with much time spent on planning, labelling ans so forth. Nowadays, I let me and nature forgive and forget…. I think, labelling is overrated. And if I happed to seed or plant this something I have quite forgotten the name of somewhere unsuitable, it won’t come up. Fine – extra space for something new..

    Of course, I am just kidding. Whish I were as orderly as you…


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