Thursday, October 27, 2011

DIY Simple Plant Markers

As I started collecting more and more plants, I realized that my brain may not be able to hold all the identification information I was forcing into it. To prevent my forgetting what plant was where, I would have to mark them. I was going to buy plant markers but realized that I could easily make some from supplies I already had. (Plus, the ones I envisioned were cuter in their rustic simplicity than the mass produced markers I found for sale.)
DIY plant marker made from a waiawi branch
Simple is the right word. It's almost rediculous to post a "tutorial" for these, but since our busy lives don't always allow room for thoughts of the obvious I thought this worth posting.

Once you have a dried branch of waiawi (strawberry guava) or other overly abundant wood ( I usually use a diameter of about 1/2 inch),  takes about a minute to make a few of these. All you need to start is a dried stick and a clippers.
basic materials: stick and clippers
Using the clippers, cut the wood into pieces that seem to be the right length. I make mine about 8 inches long, but I don't bother measuring. I generally use straight pieces, but a little curve at the top end won't hurt, and even can look cute.
shaved marker sticks
Next, shave off an inch to 1.5 inch of bark at the top end to expose some lighter wood. I hold the clippers open and use the top blade to do this, but you could also use a pocket knife or any professional whittling tools you may have.
labels added with a permanent marker
At this point, I used to wait a few days to make sure the inner wood was dry, but now I skip that step and immediately write the labels with a permanent pen - a micron pigma type works great. I briefly entertained the idea of using a soldering iron to burn in the labels, but that just didn't fit in to my need for immediate gratification. I bet it would look cool, though, so if you do that please send pix.

These have held up well for me, even in this wet climate. And none have grown into happy waiawi trees in the middle of the garden, so all is good. Best of all, my brain needs to keep track of fewer things.

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