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I have been nagged big time by the domestic challenge of garden markers. Me been thinking that if I could only find a means to flag my garden content my life would be easier.
I want to mark the location of the seeds and seedlings I plant as well as the the  mulch pits I dig. But finding a reliable means to do so is frustrating. 
Wood rots and colours so that it merges with the undergrowth.
Plastic tags are often quite short and, because they're light, will fall over and get lost in the mulch.
I've used aluminium foil pinched atop of twigs or bamboo too but the foil falls off.
Then I thought: ceramic. Since my garden is festooned with plates -- each bed looks like a flying saucer parking lot  because I use dinner plates to cover my terracotta pot wetpots-- I started thinking about the porcelain option.
Cups? Broken bits of terracotta pots? Plates on their sides?
It just so happens that my wife is a keen mosaic artist and we do have a ready supply of tiles on hand and tile cutters. 
Are you with me on this?
So all I need do is lay in a supply of old tiles -- old white or lightly coloured tiles -- preferably large ones - and trim them into narrow strips.I could even write on them too if I wanted. Inserted upright into the soil I'd have myself markers galore.I could even deploy colour coding if I had the supply of different suitable tiles. White for plantings; another colour  for mulch pits.
No rot. Easily located  among all the vegetative growth.
You may wonder why I should obsess about tagging like this. When you mulch thick and often it's easy to lose stuff in the garden. Seedlings. Seed holes. Even hand tools. Pit fertilising stations.... Inadvertently each time you throw on some more mulch material you may cover past gardening efforts. 
So it's all about preventing drowning. They're little hands rising from the dirt: I'm here! 
Indeed, if I added a little square or rectangular tile cut to the top of these strips maybe I've got a retailable item? So what's the market in garden markers these days?

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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 21, 2014 at 17:23

There's a niche alright. The designs need to be practical for different applications. Someone (you?) experienced with practical gardening could do some designs and run some trials with the different interpretations. Except for the nursery plastic signs, there aren't any I have seen in shops which would work with mulch never mind deep mulch. Most are for pots and look fancy but are not practical. Sell an Artline Garden Marker with each bundle of markers - make it a complete kit.

Comment by Dave Riley on April 21, 2014 at 14:34

I'd make up a few today(to prove my point) except all the tile cutters are locked up in the local hall storage (along with plenty of tiles)and the mosaic lady of the house is away for Easter. A good source of tiles by the way are Op shops and Tip shops-- even rejects from tile shops. Borrow a tile cutter and wacko!

Cheap and nasty Tile Cutting model: $25 at Bunnings...

Comment by Dave Riley on April 21, 2014 at 14:27

Maybe I should ask the missus and the mosaics club she runs to make up markers . It's an easy slice with tile cutters and with a dab of Hard-as-Nails you could affix a rectangular cross post signage. The community arts group we're with -- Artrageous Community Arts in Deagon  -- has just opened a shop with special attention to garden art. So maybe there's a niche? 

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 21, 2014 at 9:31

Seriously flash! Messing about with sharp edges is not what I'd prefer to do. Bound to be a bloody encounter. Whatever is used in deep mulch needs to be long enough to get into the soil and strong or heavy enough not to be blown away or covered up.

Comment by Dave Riley on April 21, 2014 at 9:16


For he crafty minded: markers made from soft drink cans. I think I'd slash my fingers and they'd be a bit light in the mulch mix. I wanted some weight and more strength. You can write on the porcelain surface too of course.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 21, 2014 at 8:57

The 'magic pen' is an Artline Garden Marker, I buy them from the local Newsagent. The ink is much more fade-resistant than ordinary felt-tipped pens.

Nothing beats metal though for longevity. Go to any Botanical Garden and see the engraved or stamped metal tags. Modern technology might have eclipsed that now though. I did have a stack of aluminium tags with wire ties. I used a dead ball-point pen to scribe the names. A tad tedious but long-lived. Don't know if they can be bought and anyway, the metal tags are only good for tying on, not acting as little hands waving in the mulch ;-)

Comment by Lissa on April 21, 2014 at 8:08

Your pic needs refreshing Dave, it's gone.

Big challenge for sure. I buy plastic (which I deplore) garden markers and write on them as heavily as I can but they still fade, but...they are reusable. Yet to find the "magic pen" in shops that Elaine talks about. I think it's just a fable ;)

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 21, 2014 at 6:57

It's a challenge alright! I use yellow plastic plant tags, bought from a market years ago and recycled by using metho to wipe off the marker pen. They are small, they do get lost in mulch. Where I can, I weave them through the trellis wire. Where I can't I put them as close as I can to the edge of the garden bed. There is a hole in them so they can be tied on too; that works.

Something like a plastic stake with a slot to put a note into. The nursery industry uses various-sized stakes with a re-writable top. Works well, have to source them from nursery supply companies. Or make something like that which is what you are describing Dave, or that's how I read it.

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