Keeping Track

Keeping Track

June 10 2021

If I didn’t keep plant labels, it’s very likely that I would forget that this beautiful rose is called ‘Bill Reid’. Bill was my introduction to the Canadian artist series of hardy roses and he hasn’t disappointed. I had to go back to my notebook several times before the name stuck in my mind and such glowing apricot/yellow roses are not plentiful in my gardens. Imagine how difficult it is to remember dozens of lilac, iris and peony varieties. So every fall or winter, I bring out that pot full of plant tags (I’m lucky to get them all in one place over the summer) and organize them into a three ring binder. I glue them to sheets of colored (just because) paper and slide the pages into plastic sleeves-each page or pages has all the new plants’ tags for a specific area of my gardens. It’s simple to go look for a tag in say ‘the south shade garden’ to find the name of something I can’t remember. The pages are in order of years; last year I planted 53 things with tags-only 8 pages, and 36 pages for four years (counting both sides). I don’t usually keep tags for annuals that I buy to plant in pots, since they’re a one year thing and I hope to find something new every year. Also I have a sleeve for seed orders and receipts.

It’s true, I still lose plants-both in the sense that they die or just that I forgot where I planted them. Mostly they’ll flower and I can find them again.

There are five roses in the Canadian Artists series named (obviously) after Canadian artists. They are: Felix LeClerc-pink, 10’, Emily Carr-deep red, 5’, Bill Reid-yellow, 3’, Campfire ‘Tom Thompson’, soft pink/yellow, 3’, and Oscar Peterson-white, 3’. Since I only have Bill Reid and Oscar Peterson, covet the others, even more than chocolate and that’s saying a lot!

The availability of certain varieties seems to be a rather tenuous thing. Your local greenhouse can only try to get what you ask for, it’s not necessarily easy to find and is dependent on what the suppliers are growing. Also, greenhouses have minimum order amounts and sometimes it’s simply not feasible for them to order something if they are not reasonably sure they can sell it. So who knows how long it will take me to find the other three roses on my wish list. But part of the fun is the hunt, yes? Doesn’t bother me to go back to the greenhouses and check either.

Canadian Artists Series, zone 3, own root roses.