This project to label my perennial garden is one that I have had on my to-do list for a while, and when I found these copper garden labels on Amazon, I was immediately inspired to get it done. This year has been a great one for gardening, and having just done a major plant edit, it was time to get things labeled. Once the garden is dormant and covered in leaves, I like having an idea of where things plan on coming back, especially when in spring I look for places to tuck new plantings. Another motivation for labeling was to get myself to learn the proper botanical names for my plants.
I have mostly labeled plants with the ‘Genus species’ Latin naming convention, as developed by famed Swedish botanist Carolus Linneaus. The plant family or ‘genus’ is listed first and capitalized, and the species follows in lower case. In some cases, because space is limited on the label, and I am more interested in identifying the specific variety of a plant, I would just list the genus and variety. ‘Variety’ is the third and lowest ranking in the botanical nomenclature and follows the species when available; it is listed in single quotations and capitalized. Though not always available on a plant tag from a nursery, in highly bred plant types like roses and irises, variety is abundant.
Since over time, any permanent marker writing on a garden label will fade, I first wrote out the plant label with a dull pencil to etch the name into the copper which is very soft and malleable, and then wrote over with an archival marker. I started off using a permanent Sharpie, but soon switched to a finer .08 Pigma Micron pen which looked nicer. When the sun and rain wash away the marker, I’ll still be able to read the label!