Keep track of your spring flower bulbs with homemade garden markers.
By Stephanie Rose
Garden Made (Roost Books, 2015) by Stephanie Rose blends crafts and gardening to present more than 40 different DIY projects that beautify both your garden and your life. For spring gardeners who may be wary of hurting flower bulbs, Rose shows us how to make a sturdy garden marker with pruners, a vegetable peeler, and a wood-burning set.
Flowers that grow from bulbs are such a pleasant treat in the spring. I tend to tuck bulbs in my garden beds between perennials to fill in the garden and extend bloom time. When the spring arrives and the perennials are still spreading out within their designated spaces, the gaps in between become the showstoppers of the garden by producing clusters of bright and cheery tulips, crocuses, snowdrops, daffodils, and grape hyacinths, many of which bloom much earlier than the perennials.
After carefully choosing bulbs in the fall, laying out a design, and giving the garden bed a nice, warm layer of mulch for the winter, inevitably I will thrust that overeager spade right through the bulbs as soon as the soil thaws. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see my bulbs bloom, I really do. I may have even made some effort to note it on a garden plan, warning me of these potential land mines. Once spring garden fever hits, however, I cannot be trusted to slow down for a minute to save those bulbs. Full of digging fervor, nothing short of a neon sign that reads BULBS HERE with arrows pointing to the soil will stop me.
Perhaps the need for a blinking sign is an exaggeration. A homemade garden marker will do just fine in a pinch. Plus, if it’s going to adorn my garden all year, then it should look natural and attractive as well as have some staying power. For these reasons sturdy twigs are more than suitable as bulb markers for unrelenting gardeners.
• Straight branch cuttings
• Bypass pruners
• Vegetable peeler
• Wood-burning tool set
1. Hunt for branches anywhere from one-quarter to one inch thick and six inches long that are straight lengths and solid wood all the way through.
Photo by Stephanie Rose
2. Use a vegetable peeler to carve a flat area at the top of the twig. (See photo, above.)
Photo by Stephanie Rose
3. Use the wood-burning tool to burn the name of the bulbs onto the twig. Add decorative elements like hearts, which could also be read as arrows (“bulbs here!”). (See photo, above.)