TWO YEARS AFTER FIRST MAKING it my New Year’s resolution, then failing to come through and failing again, I am finally labeling my garden with tags that will last. No more plastic strips for me; make mine metal. The answer comes in the form of the M-11 Dymo labeler, available at the best price I could find (about $195) from A.M. Leonard tools, a favorite source. Perfect to buy with a group of gardening friends and share for a lifetime.
Half-inch aluminum or steel tape threads through the embosser, whose alphabetized click-wheel you turn, followed by a squeeze of the handle that punches the chosen letter, one after another. And so on. A built-in hole punch readies the tags for wiring—either to branches or to metal stakes pounded into the ground beside herbaceous things. Or you can hole-punch the labels with an awl (shown) and a hammer.
You’ll have to find suitable stakes with holes (I haven’t) or make your own (I am, following a tradition I learned from the gardeners at the public garden in New York called Wave Hill, using eighth-inch rectangular aluminum bars that I cut and then drill at one end). You can get the metal bars at any big hardware store; while you’re there, get the right drill bit for that more rugged form of hole-punching.
Update 6/26: Saw some interesting and MUCH less labor-intensive choices recommended by my friends at Apartment Therapy you may want to check out.
Ooooh. Serious tool envy here.
Will A.M.Leonard sell/ship a “label maker” to operate the M-11 Dymo labeler in our gardens?
Glad to help, Andrea. I am investigating that metal-etching tool…good idea.
AM Leonard carries a variety of tall and short metal stakes and signs that are charming in the garden. I used a wax pencil that has held up beautifully. Home Depot carries a tool to etch on metal if the wax crayon doesn’t do it for you. Margaret – I love loooking through the sources you so generously share with us. Thanks!
Markers …. another interesting and perplexing topic. I started buying 100 packs of those metal markers (first copper) then zinc for my perennials 7 years ago. I alocated hundreds of dollars every year to buy more for all the plant purchases. I judiciously engraved by hand latin and common name and cultivar in every marker. Then upon realizing I could not do that continually, I used all kinds of garden type markers. Invariably they all failed and now I have a stockpile of empty zinc markers. The copper ones were fine but the much coveted patination obliterated the writing. So I have been trying to figure out a way of typing up labels with adhesive backs and then making them water proof. I might experiment with some adhesive clear over the top and see how long it lasts on one before the daunting task of re labeling. I like the idea of the engraved lable maker but would want a tool that can make larger signs that can be affixed to the placque type I already have. Professional arboratum labels can be purchased however they are about 4-5 dollars each and at that rate, I would prefer to buy more plants….of coarse!
Your sight is a great weekly reminder about topics of further study. I did a bit of research and discovered on AML some new products I was not aware of like a label maker on clear weather proof material. I also found a sight with weather proof blank labels which I will test. I can make easier the labels on the computer and print them out and apply them to the hundreds of weather worn blank zinc markers. Thanks for getting me thinking again..! I love your view outside the window of your bathroom. I’ve been to your property at other times and it looks really beautiful now.