Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Confessions of a Labeler

I have met many good gardeners who eschew labeling their plants. I think it is a matter of pride, although I am not sure whether it is pride in their memory or pride in not allowing labels to defile their garden's aesthetics. For my part I label like an Alzheimer's patient. One of my sister's once asked me why I couldn't just enjoy my plants for what they are without fixating on the names. The names of plants are so integral to my use and understanding of them I didn't know how to reply; I was dumbfounded. Today I read from one of my favorite garden columnists (Frank Ronan) that when rearranging a garden, "...whether the plant survives is infinitely less important than the removal of a vexation. We do not garden to be annoyed." I apply the same idea to plant labels. I am greatly vexed by looking at a plant in my garden and not knowing its name. I need to label, and with any luck the gentian pictured above will soon grow over the label so only I will know and be reassured that the name is somewhere to be found.

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