Russian roulette – for [by] gardeners!

When I started writing this blog I stated that my aim was to share not only my successes, but my failures. So here’s a lesson from me to you. Do not use the cheap wooden coffee stirrers, such as are available from any High Street coffee emporia near you, as plant labels – or at least if you do, write on them in ballpoint; gardeners’ felt-tip simply won’t do.

I took the idea from a neighbour, it seemed a good one and when I planted up my dahlia tubers this year I carefully marked each one with a stirrer. However we had a lot of rain and the ink began to run. Not to worry – I’d used ordinary felt tip; I bought a gardeners’ felt tip and, I could still make out the names, I marked them up again. Just to be on the safe side I placed them in batches by name as well. We had a lot more rain. I decided to move the pots to the cover of my log store where they could dry out a bit and hopefully be encouraged to shoot. And they did! However the repeated soaking of the labels had totally obliterated the lettering. And I was no longer 100% sure which order I’d arranged them in.

Now I am pretty sure I know which are the Swan Lake (pure white) and the Bishop of Canterbury (vivid magenta) as I have three of each, and so the leaf shapes make grouping them easy. However the other four; Summertime (pale lemon) Roxy (magenta) Classic Rosamunda (shocking pink) and Bishop of Auckland (hot crimson) are singles, and three have leaves that at the moment are almost identical! The garden has a planting plan insofar as I’ve planted by colour – dark and deep shades at the front as you look at the garden from the house, fading to white at the end.

And so here is where I’ll be playing Russian Roulette this summer – with my colour placing. Will the Bishop of Auckland end up, bold as brass, centre stage in the middle of Swan Lake when he should be delivering a cheeky colour sermon next to the Bishop of Canterbury? I am probably going to play it safe and grow the four singles in pots, and then sink them into spaces that need livening up later in the season. It is not really a problem, they will be beautiful wherever they end up. But I’ve been out and bought some proper labels!

About Sara Davison

I've been gardening as long as I can remember; initially as a child, learning from my mother, and then with each successive garden I've owned, I've expanded my knowledge and my plant collection. Starting Spring 2014 I'm taking my first steps as a flower farmer, growing British flowers for cutting on an acre of rented farmland in the Surrey Hills.
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2 Responses to Russian roulette – for [by] gardeners!

  1. Oh gosh I know how frustrating things like this can be! I swear there are faries who move my lables so that when I want to know which kind of beans or lettuce a row is, I end up playing guessing games. I have found pencil to be the best at standing the test of time, and rain! Hope your planting works out well

  2. The best laid plans, eh? The crab apple is looking wonderful – what a difference a year makes!

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