So far I have tried plastic labels with black permanent pen and pencil;
lollipop sticks with pen/ pencil; copper labels with an indenting tool (see post header); red permanent pen ;
black labels etched with a little pointy tool ...
the list goes on and on.
And do you know something ?
NOTHING WORKED. They all end up looking like this ...
or this ...
I have posted about it before, and if you wish to find out more, here is the link ...
'A rose by any name at all ...'
For christmas I asked Santa for a labelling machine, to see if it would solve the knotty problem of the fading label once and for all. I did my research beforehand, although, to be honest, there weren't many garden labelling machines to choose from. I chose a 'Brother GL-H105 Professional garden Labeller' and it cost around £30.
As Spring has now sprung, and I am sowing and potting on for the Olympic Team, I have just started using it. I can't predict how the labels will fare over time, but I am already pleased with the results, as the labels look much more professional than my handwritten ones.
By the way, this is not a sponsored post in any way, it is just me trying out a new gizmo, and being totally honest about what I discover.
The machine is a good size for a handheld, small enough to hold comfortably, yet large enough for the buttons to be used easily. The keyboard is set out alphabetically, which will slow down those used to a QWERTY keyboard. However, it will not be used for typing a novel, so I guess it matters not. It needs 6 AAA batteries, which, of course didn't come with it, so I had to go out and buy those first, before I could use it.
The machine works by printing labels on an adhesive tape, which can then be put onto any dry surface . In my case, I will be sticking them on plastic plant labels but I guess there are lots of ways to use them in the garden, greenhouse or shed. There is a promise that the labels will not fade over time, that they are waterproof, and resistant to frost, heat, chemicals, humidity and abrasion.
The machine is reasonably intuitive to use. The cassette containing the label tape needs to be snapped into place, and the batteries fitted. That's all you need to do before you are ready to roll!
There is a limited choice of font sizes, and letters can be typed in lower case, upper case or italics. I briefly tried the main choices to be able to make comparisons, but there is probably lots I haven't discovered yet.
Below, you can see the fonts and sizes I tried out. I discounted the 'italics' font immediately as the spacings between the letters were quite wide, which meant that each label used up quite a lot of tape. As the tapes are quite expensive, it makes good sense to use as little as possible for every label. Label length and width can be adjusted, so I have set them to be as small as possible to preserve tape, as each new tape cassette retails at about £16, (although can be bought discounted for around £7) . I shall be interested to see how long each one lasts.
'Blue Ensign' is printing on the 'small' font setting and in lower case. To my mind , this is a little too small, and the letters do not have enough impact. There is a relatively large amount of blank tape.
'Sexy Rexy' (it's a rose, honest !!) is in Medium font, and in the words of Goldilocks, it is "Just right"! The font size is easily readable and pleasing to the eye.
'Ascott rainbow' (yes, I know it looks as if the double 't' is a spelling error, but that is how it appears on the label the plant came with !) is in Large font. It is very acceptable, but uses more tape than the Middle sized one.
'Musa basjoo' is in italics,and, to my mind, takes up far too much tape.
So, for most labels I write I will be using the Medium sized font, in capital letters. There are other choices like 'outline' and 'shadow' but I just want a plain, easily readable label, at the end of the day.
When the label is written , it can be printed immediately,
and the tape is then cut by a fiendishly tiny guillotine, hidden away in the innards of the machine, which jumps into action when the white button (bearing the scissor icon) is depressed.
When the label has printed out, the adhesive backing can then be removed. Like everything else, there is a definite knack to this, as the backing paper is split into two, horizontally, so bending the label slightly makes it easier to peel the backing paper off. I am attempting to do this one-handed purely for the purposes of this blog, as I was taking one handed photos with the other hand! I'm sure it is much easier using two hands !
This label was about the tenth that I attempted, and it is the neatest and most professional. I am pleased with the way it looks, and will be watching like a hawk to see if there is any fading over the coming months and years. If there is, I want my money back. Every last penny!
I won't be using my Labeller for every label from now on as it would be too expensive and time consuming. I will use it for labels on special garden plants, which I need to last for ever. I will make one for all my roses, and for any plant where I really need to know the variety. I will not be printing labels for any annuals, as these are only needed for a few short months. I think the Labeller will be invaluable for Open gardens days, when people love to know the names/ varieties of plants they see in situ. I can go round beforehand to ensure that all main plants are labelled.
Overall, I give it a definite thumbs up for ease of use and appearance of the labels, but the jury is out on the main issue of fading.