Do you have some overcrowded clumps of spring blooming bulbs around your garden that you need to dig up and divide? Well now (spring) is not the time to divide them, so what you need is some inexpensive but durable markers to mark the spots. Spring blooming bulbs should be divided during the summer after all the foliage has died back and the bulbs have gone dormant but by then it's difficult to remember where the bulbs are and what type or color they are. So let's make some aluminum plant tags so we'll know where to dig.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
To make these plant markers you will need:
- an aluminum can (A bit thicker metal is better, aluminum step flashing is about perfect.)
- heavy gauge wire. I used aluminum clothes line wire because I had some on hand and that worked great.
- needle-nose pliers
- wire cutters
- a hole punch
- fine tipped ball point pen or other engraving stylus
Step 2: Cut Up the Can
Cut the aluminum can into small strips using the scissors. The metal is very thin and easy to cut though a little awkward because of the round shape of the can. You can make 18-20 labels from one can if you keep them fairly small. After cutting up all the pieces use the hole punch to make a hole near one edge.
Step 3: Cut and Bend the Wire
Use the wire cutters to cut your wire into 6-8 inch lengths. Bend one end into a loop but leave a gap to slip the label on. Now use the ballpoint pen (or a nail) to engrave your label tab with the name of the plant. Don't worry if the pen doesn't leave much of any ink. You're just trying to engrave the soft aluminum not mark it with the ink. Slip the label onto the wire loop and finish closing the loop with the needle nose pliers.
Step 4: Place the Marker
That's it! Now you just need to take the marker outside and stick it in the ground near your overcrowded clump of bulbs. You may not want to stick the marker right in the middle of the clump since you might damage a bulb by piercing it. That's not so much a concern with cheap crocus or daffodils but with my expensive lilies I'm much more careful to avoid poking into a bulb.