The Guerilla Gardener: The Real Meanings On Plant Tags And Seed Packages

By May 31, 2013The Guerilla Gardener

By Brenda Dyck.
“A favorite of birds” – means avoid planting near cars, sidewalks, patios or picnic tables unless you would like a white wash of bird poop on everything.
Hardiness Zones -no matter what the tag/seed package says it’s like sort of like playing Russian roulette. You take your chances!

Guerilla gardeners often discover microclimates in their yards close to the house that can be used to grow plants out of the average hardiness range. As long as it’s not rare or expensive take the risk!

“May require support” -means that unless you start it off with a support system in place you will be so frustrated trying to do it later the plant will be ripped out and relegated to the compost heap with vows never to grow that particular plant again!

“Moisture-loving” – there are two kinds of Guerilla Gardeners when it comes to watering; the “I drown my plant” kind of gardener and the I can’t remember the last time I watered” kind of gardener. Plants with “moisture loving”on the tag should only be attempted by the most diligent of watering types. All others had better have bog or swamp like place on their property if they want this type of plant to survive.

“Vigorous” – is code for “invasive weed masquerading as a garden plant”. Just think of how fast mint spreads when planted and you’ll get the general idea.

“Carefree” – refers more to the plant’s way of growing than to your gardening workload.

“Grandma’s Favorite” – these plants should only be grown if they are an especially fragrant variety. After all, a lot of the heirloom varieties quit being Grandma’s favorites when she discovered free-flowering, disease-resistant hybrids.

“Xeriscape Plant”- also sometimes labeled as “Drought tolerant” is definitely the type of plant for the “I can’t remember the last time I watered” kind of Guerilla Gardener. Don’t think of it as being lazy; think of it as being environmentally conscious by conserving water.

My experience is if “Soil Type” is listed on the tag it is the one thing that really seems to matter and should be followed whenever possible. As for “Sun/Shade Conditions”, just remember if it’s inexpensive and you can’t find room to plant it under ideal conditions it’s always worth pushing the envelope. And as for “Plant Spacing” why make more work for yourself any sooner than you need to. You will undoubtedly learn that things really do grow to fill the spaces the plant tags said they would … and that is how a Guerilla Gardener deciphers the real meanings on plant tags and seed packages.

Look for more columns from Brenda in the coming weeks.

Brenda Dyck is a Fraser Valley writer AKA a Guerrilla Gardener
Guerilla Garden Adventures
Using unconventional gardening ideas,
to get maximum results from minimal resources.
Look for more columns from Brenda in the coming weeks.

Articles on the Guerilla Garden Adventures should never be construed as professional advice. Any resemblance to Master Gardeners, living or dead is purely coincidental.
I do not in any way condone or recommend following any of the advice or ideas contained on or linked in any article. These articles are based on my own Guerilla Garden Adventures (or that of some anonymous close friends), and have been considered by some people to be dangerous, immoral and/or down right illegal.
The only purpose of these articles is to share my Guerilla Garden Adventures, stories, disasters and triumphs with a warped sense of garden humor. Neither myself nor anyone I know will assume liability for any issues or legal proceedings arising (either real or imagined) from anyone who decides to embark upon their own Guerilla Gardener Adventure!

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