What’s in a name?

Vija’s blog on the garden jobs she finds relaxing made me think about what I enjoy most. I don’t find the action of pricking seedlings out particularly relaxing, but I do love the satisfied feeling once I’ve done it! That’s usually because the poor little babies have been in their first beds far too long and have taken to looking at me accusingly whenever I walk past.

I really enjoy planting seeds in pots, usually done on a grey day, as it creates such bright ideas for the future and dreams of wafting around a Sarah-Raven-like garden paradise. I like to dream.

I also enjoy labelling, which might seem a mundane though necessary and useful practice. But the creative variety of labelling ideas is fabulous, have a look at Pinterest sites for examples of gardeners never ending ingenuity. IMG_5562

I have labelled the trees in my garden with strong copper embossed labels, because they need the most permanent ones. I like to fantasise that after I’ve gone, whoever buys our house will find the labels and marvel at the previous owners wonderful tree choices. At the least, it may give them pause before chopping down whatever monster it has grown into!

I don’t buy new plastic labels any more, so some of them are a bit tatty but fine for annuals. I use wooden lolly sticks for seed trays but they don’t last long once planted out as my terrier can’t distinguish between a wooden label and a twig so they tend to wander onto the lawn. This year, as my husband likes woodwork, he has made me lots of sturdy batons which I have painted a trendy Charcoal Grey and written on in White – very “National Trust” and reasonably terrier-proof.

As regards what I write on the label – for the trees I have used both the common and Latin name, for posterity’s sake. But everything else tends to be in my own unique language – often the name my father taught me (so quite possibly wrong or changed according to its DNA by now) but I know what I mean! Alternatively, I label according to a memory or who gave it to me: for instance “Pat’s Tangerine Sage” or “Tina’s Geranium”. My favourite is a large and very beautiful Weigelia, called “Christian’s Bush”, which conjures a lovely memory of my son, then aged 5, charging into our friend Christian’s beautifully symmetrical shrub and snapping a great piece off.  I was embarrassed but  Christian gallantly presented it to me for a cutting and I grew it on successfully!


Our future house buyer is going to be Googling in vain for all these unusual variety names!

If you have any unusual ideas for labels, let us know! Email cabahshortisoc@gmail.com

Kathy A

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