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Gardening & More: Make plant tags from recycled items

INGENUITY ó This is a simple, inexpensive, easy plant tag to make. Stick a wine cork on a piece of coat hanger and use a permanent marker to write the name of the plant. Photos by Connie Oswald Stofko.
SPRINGVILLE ó Right now, while you remember whatís what, mark all of your plants with sturdy plant tags.

The flimsy tags that come with a plant might be fine to mark an annual that lasts for just the summer, but, if you want to keep track of your perennials, from year to year, you need something sturdier.

This column details several clever and durable plant tags that are cheap to make.

The tags were part of a Plantasia exhibit, this year. They were created by students in the horticulture programs at Niagara County Community College, the adult education program at McKinley High School in Buffalo and the day program at McKinley High School.

There are three styles of plant tags.

First is a simple wine cork, stuck on a piece of coat hanger. Write the name of the plant on the cork, with permanent marker. This design it is attractive, as well as functional.

TRY NEW THINGS ó A piece of coat hanger is bent into a shepherdís hook, to hold the lid from an aluminum can. There is enough space to add the Latin name of your plant or other information.
With the second style, remove the lid from an aluminum can, poke a small hole in the lid and thread the aluminum circle onto a shepherdís hook, made with a piece of a wire coat hanger.

The lid gives you a nice, large area to write on. You could include the date you planted the specimen, its Latin name and the common name of the plant, or other bits of helpful information.

I wondered if the marker would rub off the metal, so I tested it at home. While the ink is wet, you can erase it, with a quick swipe of your thumb. However, once the ink is dry, you can run water over it and scrub all you want, but that lettering isnít going anywhere.

My favorite idea was to take the entire can and poke it, upside-down, into the dirt. Write the name of the plant on the bottom of the can. I liked this idea, because that tag canít get knocked over. It is definitely going to stay put.

Try making these plant tags. They are attractive, cheap and easy on the environment. Best of all, these plant tags should still be in place, next spring, when you canít remember what you planted where.

Connie Oswald Stofko is the publisher of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email Connie@BuffaloNiagaraGardening.com.

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