Labelling - it should be part of every greenhouse gardener's routine. All plants should have their own label which is clear, correct and dated.
In my head, I do all that. In reality, it is very different, and my greenhouse can be a bizarre place as far as labels are concerned. For instance, there are lots of labels like this ;
Now, I don't have any problem reading that at all, in fact it is one of my better labels. It may look as if says 'shoe' or even 'Shop fiz', but I know it says 'Jude 5.13'! It is a cutting of the English Rose 'Jude the obscure', and is a rooted cutting taken in May 2013.
I am either mean, or thrifty, depending on your point of view, and for some reason, I am extremely parsimonious with my labels, and use them as many times as is humanly possible. This can lead to confusion such as this :
A totally useless label, as the writing on the other side is unreadable, and the plant is clearly not a tree peony. I know it is a rose, but haven't a clue which one until it flowers !
The label situation is made even worse by my handwriting, which is bad at best, and at worse , atrocious, especially when written with gardening gloves on.
Ignore the fact that the cutting hasn't rooted and is dying a slow and lingering death, and try to read the label. 'Paul's Scarlet 8.13' is what that shorthand reads! Honest...
It isn't that I have no new labels, I have a drawer full of them, and lots in my handy tin, ready to use.
I have big ones, small ones, ones that tie on, ones that stick in the ground, different coloured ones, even , somewhere, some lovely (unused) copper ones. Yet still I feel compelled to get all the use I can from existing ones, before I reach for a brand new virgin label. If you look closely you can make out cobwebs on those labels.
I keep some of them for a LONG time ...
Another problem I have is the fading pen. The label is crisp and clear when written, but fades to infuriating squiggles as soon as your back is turned.
For those unfamiliar with fading-pen syndrome, it is 'Buff Beauty' - yet another rose.
I also seem to just throw random labels around, especially in the greenhouse...
A label reading 'Atomic snowflake 'is currently lying next to the remains of a courgette plant. It is not in my handwriting, and I would bet it is not a variety of courgette either. My money is on a geranium, circa 1996 ! By the way, the other side is totally blank.
I also get a bit over-descriptive about some plants, especially if I am unsure of the name or variety.
If plants are given to you by friends, often there is no variety known, and you need to invent your own name for them.
Oh dear ! I wasn't even sure about this one at the time I took the cutting.
There is NO label next to my tomato plants, so I have no idea what variety they are, but I did find the 2 labels in the photo above, lying next to them. Needless to say there was no coriander or Californian Wonder peppers anywhere in sight.
The tomatoes themselves are lookin' good, but will have to remain nameless. I tried 3 new varieties this season and I have a list of them - just haven't a clue which one is which.
Occasionally, I get it right ! St Swithins has a label which is easily readable, dated and correct !
Better make the most of it ... a rose by any other name and all that !