I took a walk-through of the gardens today, and they looked typically like they should in January, with a couple of green exceptions, due to the unseasonably warm weather we've had. Most things are naked and brown. Some are noticeably absent altogether. If it weren't for the plant markers, I wouldn't know where some of them are at all.
The tulips, daffodils, lilies, and alliums are deep in the cold, dark earth gathering strength for their burst of color in a few months. Some of them, like the tulips and daffodils, need the prolonged cold of winter to elicit the biochemical action that makes them bloom. When I'm lamenting that I can't grow tropicals outside year-round here, the Floridians are wishing they could grow tulips the same way.
When everything's green and lush and pretty, you can't see most of my plant markers. I don't want them to be conspicuous, so I tuck them in out of the way, but I want them to be available so if I forget what the cultivar is, I have it right there. I tried the copper markers first, but last winter taught me that those aren't very lasting. The copper doesn't deteriorate so much, but they don't stay wrapped around the frame very well. I was constantly looking for wayward labels and reattaching them.
This year, I got the vertical zinc-coated hairpin ones. They're better made and while they're a bit larger, I can still hide them among the foliage. I was able to find them at Organic Growers Supply for an economical price. I use my Dymo Label Maker to make the labels and stick those on the face of the marker.
Seeing all the plant markers standing at attention reminded me of the cemetery down the road. Oriental Lily 'Muscadet' is buried here. The 'Ice Stick' Tulips are there. Just as the plants and bulbs are resting and waiting for the day when their creator will awaken them to shine in all their glorious beauty, we too have faith that we will be raised one day and live in God's Eternal Garden of Eden.