Monday, December 17, 2012

Using Signs

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Already after 2 PM and I still haven't warmed up from being outside working  from 8 until 1. The weatherman suggested that we are entering four days of bad weather so I wanted to finish up some wood cutting before the snow started. I misread the forecast someplace as it is still 20° outside and the 3 mph wind and falling snow make it feel even colder. I had layers of clothes on but after that amount of time I got chilled.

Gail had a hot lunch ready for me so I retreated to my office to check mail and munch away. I work on pictures this time of year, getting some ready for our website, putting others in folders, deleting others. I came across this one from the Spring of 2003. Click on it to enlarge. This was a shade garden I built in the year 2000 inside an old barn foundation on our property. The top 2/3's of the garden was hostas and the bottom quarter was astilbes. The balance was ferns, hellebores, pulmonarias, and primroses.

You'll notice an abundance of white signs which look out of proportion to the spring garden where perennials had just started to emerge. I want to mention these signs as they are an inexpensive way to mark plants in a display garden in a manner that is easy for visitors to read during garden tours. My intent at the time was to put together a nice garden of mature hostas so people could identify plants they might like to purchase after viewing mature heights and coloration. Some visitors said the place looked  like a cemetery but the majority repected it as being a display and many asked about the signs. Some said they thought the signs would be excellent to add during major events and then remove them for the balance of the season. Moving +500 signs is a bit bigger task than one might think but I hear their idea.

The signs shown here are Parker-Davis Step Signs. These are miniatures of the political signs you probably just got tired of seeing from Labor Day through Election Day. They are made of white or colored corrrugated plastic cardboard and the stakes are the same wire used to reinforce brick veneer on buildings.The sign material comes in a variety of sizes and colors and here in Vermont it holds up for about 5 years, sometimes a bit longer. I use Avery clear laser labels, not the more expensive weatherproof labels as the straight laser labels do the trick. I print black lettering on the transparent labels so the white sign shows through and reading them is easy even from a distance. The stakes are available in a variety of heights. I use the 36" stakes for medium and larger hostas and for all the daylilies we have growing in the fields.

Smaller metal stakes and markers are available from Eon Industries and from Paw-Paw Everlast Label Company. I use these too and still use the laser labels with them. In all cases you just have to be sure the sign material, corrugated or metal, is free of dirt before applying the label.

I guess signs are an eye-of-the-beholder thing but gardeners do like to know the names of new things they don't have and do want to add to their gardens. You can make your own decision. If you have other signs you prefer, please drop a note here so we can see what else is on the market.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the Redpolls and Chickadees are eating as if a big storm is on the way. Light snow continues.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
Watch us on Facebook at Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa
Check vtflowerfarm on Twitter
Always here to help you grow your green thumb!

Call Gail at 802-426-3505 for a holiday gift certificate. Nice!

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