DIY Fall Bulb Planting Garden Markers ~ DIY garden markers to identify what fall bulbs are planted where so you know what is coming up later in spring.
I have been busy in the garden planting new tulip and allium bulbs. Thankfully the weather has been very cooperative. The nights are quite cool but when the sun comes out the days have been warm and with very little wind. The fall leaves are so pretty right now it would be a shame for a big wind to come through and blow away all of the gorgeous fall colours.
Do you plant tulip bulbs? How are they doing in your garden? The tulips I planted in past years have basically fizzled. All that was coming up were some dreary looking green leaves. Just a few had a small tulip come out but they were really nothing to get excited about. Clearly my tulip bulbs needed to be replaced.
I originally thought that tulips were like perennials and once you put them in the ground they would come back every year. This is not the case. I belong to the Horticultural Society in the town I live. Last spring I attended a presentation by a very knowledgeable horticulturist who was an expert on everything to do with bulbs. It was during his talk that I learned the answer as to why my tulips were no longer producing healthy blooms. I learned that the newly developed tulips only bloom vigorously for one year and maybe two. This is not the case for the heirloom tulip bulbs that are harder to find. But the new tulips that are readily available grow more like an annual even though they are a perennial flower. I found this article about tulips and it really does a great job explaining the what and why many (but not all) tulips have limited years of blooming. I know… it is quite confusing.
So I had to revise my planting strategy for tulips. I decided to budget about $20.00 a year and plant the new hybrid tulip bulbs every fall. I also decided to treat tulips like they were an annual flower rather than a perennial. What is the sense of keeping tulip bulbs in the ground that were no longer producing? But I had problem. As the tulips were coming up next spring how was I to clearly know which ones were the old tulips and which ones were the new tulips? I plan to pull out the old ones and throw them in the compost. But I don’t want to make a mistake and pull up any newly planted ones.
These are my strategies I came up with. First of all, I bought 90 bulbs of one colour that I just planted. I planted fuchsia tulip bulbs in ten clusters of nine tulips scattered around the garden. I also made garden markers to place in the middle of each of the clusters. I plan to dig up any tulips that are not in the identified clusters next spring. I should be pretty safe from digging up the wrong tulips and I will have some gorgeous pink tulip splashes of colour growing throughout the flower garden.
The garden markers I made are not very decorative. As you can see they are a basic black and are noticeable but do blend in with the black mulch. I made that choice intentionally. I want the flowers to be showcased and not be distracted by busy looking garden markers. That is just my preference as a gardener. But the DIY fall bulb planting garden markers I made are perfect for telling me what is planted where.
I made them from plastic chopsticks and clothespins. I picked a whole bag of chopsticks at the thrift store for $1.00! I only used the plastic ones because I figured they would be the most sturdy. I also thought they were a perfect stake because the pointy end easily inserts into the ground. They also have the perfect diameter to hold a clothespin. Twigs and paint sticks could also be an option.
SCORE… all of these chopsticks were $1.00!
I chose to paint the chopsticks and clothespins black but you can use any paint colour. I used a fine white gel marker but you can also use a fine permanent marker or a grease pen for the lettering. Now I do have a trick to help make sure the paint and whatever ink you choose to use does not disappear while being exposed to the weather elements. It is really important that you follow the last step.
So now that you know why I wanted to make these garden markers here is the how to make…
DIY Fall Bulb Planting Garden Markers
- plastic chopsticks, twigs or paint sticks
- wood clothespins
- black spray paint ( I used a matte because that is what I had in the house)
- black chalk spray paint
- Heavy Duty Scotch Gard For Outdoor Fabrics (not sponsored)
Spray each chopstick with a light coat of the black spray paint. Spray each clothespin with a light of black chalk paint. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Spray each chopstick with a second coat of black spray paint. Spray each clothespin with a second coat of black chalk paint. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Tip: I set up a painting station in the garage for a 2-day period. I painted one side of each chopstick and clothespin and let it dry. When the one side was dry I flipped them over and painted the other side. Each spraying session took minutes to do. As I was painting each side I also made sure to paint the other exposed sides by moving around the paint table as I sprayed.
Tip: Move the chopsticks and clothespins on to a new dry spot on the plastic with each spraying session. It just gives a cleaner spray painted look.
Label each garden marker with the colour and name of the bulb on one side and the year it was planted on other side. This helps track how old the bulb is.
Spray each chopstick and clothespin with 2 coats of Heavy Duty Scotchgard For Outdoor Fabrics. Dry thoroughly between each coat.
Final Comments: I have had this fabric protector in the house for years. We bought it to spray on a tent we bought for a kayak trip we took in a rainforest area in western Canada. I know the can says it is for fabric but I thought I would experiment and see how it works on wood and plastic. So far, so good. It even works on protecting your outdoor pumpkins!
You can see the droplets of water repelling on the clothespin. I captured some of the morning dew when I took this photograph the other morning. It will be interesting to see how long the protector works.
Keeping It Real: I did step on one of the chopsticks after it was inserted into the ground and it broke. The lesson here is that there are sturdy but not unbreakable.
I also planted some new purple giant allium bulbs. I dried this year’s alliums and made them into Stunning Metallic Painted Dried Giant Allium Flowers for some fall decorating. I love how they turned so much I planted some more.
Your turn: Do you plant tulips? What is your favourite colour? Did you know that the new hybrid tulips do not bloom year after year? What kind of garden markers do you use?
Here are some other gardening posts by Time With Thea that you may find informative…Flowers thrive in soil amended with compost and I love making my own…
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These nasturtium outdoor planters are so beautiful but are so easy to grow next summer…