I found another garden marker idea on Page 86 and 89 of the April 2012 issue of Better Homes & Gardens. In the article, Donna Drago placed 5 or 6 foot tall unpainted wooden stakes in her square foot garden. Each stake had a whimsical lime green dowel cap on top. Just below the dowel cap, she wrote the name of the plant.
I knew the wooden stake was a bad idea for my neck of the woods. In just one season, wood placed in the ground either rots or something chews the bottoms off. I decided to use Drago’s marker idea by substituting half inch PVC pipe for the wood and copy the idea of topping the markers with dowel caps. I am not willing to put PVC pipe in my veggie garden because I’m suspicious of toxic seepage. However, I thought the PVC markers would be great as perennial markers to mark the location of perennials that die back in the winter. It would be helpful to know where to expect a perennial to resprout and give me a head’s-up if it failed to resprout.
Poppie gave me a 5 foot section of half-inch PVC pipe. I cut the pipe into 12 inch pieces and used silver spray paint on the PVC. He also gave me two round, two-inch dowel caps that I painted with my lifetime supply of flat celery green. I later spray painted them with a darker shade of green because I wanted them shiny. My paint choices were based on trying to make a marker that did not detract from the beauty of nature or stand out unnecessarily. I wanted something that you wouldn’t really notice in comparison to those cemetery markers.
I loved the dowel cap on the pipe but could locate only one inch dowel caps in the craft stores and couldn’t find them at all in the home improvement stores. Unwilling to special order the two inch dowel caps, I donned my creative thinking cap and decided that I could make some square dowel caps with some of Poppie’s woodworking equipment. I rooted around in his scrap wood bin, cut some small cubes (less than 2 inches) and proceeded to drill one hole into each cube. Drill is not the right word because I didn’t use a drill as you think of them. Poppie has this hole-poker thingie with drill bits that look like augers. I have no idea what you call that kind of drill. I drilled each hole slightly larger than the half-inch PVC pipe, and voila, a square dowel cap.
To paint them, I poked some bamboo garden stakes in the dirt, put a cube on each stake and went on the attack with shiny spray paint.
I used E6000 glue inside the hole I drilled and pressed the square dowel cap on the PVC pipe. Here are the results of both the round and the cube perennial markers. This project didn’t cost me a dime because Poppie was willing to share what he had in his shop and I was willing to put in a little time.
If you are looking for more garden marker ideas, our intrepid web explorer, Ms. GrubbyFungus, has found a new selection of marker ideas. Check it out over at Three Pea Permaculture.