The garden we’re now calling the Native Plant Garden was originally planned as a landscape bed with a few native plants from a nursery and a ton of mulch. It came together one Saturday morning with a few volunteers, a small assortment of plants, the mulch and some tools. We dug a few holes, plugged in the plants, spread the mulch and walked away.
Well, landscaping is not so simple. Turn your back and the immigrants, the colonizers, arrive to stake their claim. In a few weeks the landscape bed was pleading to be rescued, singing a siren song to a susceptible garden geek. Yes, I would come to the rescue. But the geek in me saw value in some of those immigrants, new plants to get acquainted with, new plants to invite others to get acquainted with. With plant labels, the bed could be more than just landscaping; it could also enlighten and perhaps spark a thirst for more.
I looked around for affordable plant labels and found the older style that you may still see in the garden. Not convenient to print; not sturdy enough for a public space; not resistant to fading. This year I got word through the Virginia Master Naturalists of a new option. The new tags you now see in the garden, and will see in other gardens, come from a start-up company that is maintaining a corresponding plant information web site. We are now able to link the label you see in the garden, via the QR code on the label, to a page on the web site which provides additional information about the plant.
Our set of plant pages on the plantsmap.com web site is organized into collections (Tree Trails and Landscape Gardens) and sub-collections (two tree trails and several individual landscape gardens). The easiest way to find our collections is to go to URL http://plantsmap.com/collections/30033 and explore from there. This is still very much a work in progress, but there is currently a plant page for each plant label in the garden.
If you have a smartphone but need a QR code reader, the company recommends purchasing the ad-free version at http://scan.me. This a whole new world for a garden geek who still has a flip-phone, so feed-back is welcome. Look for me in the garden!
Thoughts on the park, its residents and how to preserve its natural beauty.