Inconsistent labelling "moves goalposts" for gardeners

27th February 2012 - Fine Cut

Gardeners are being caught out by the inconsistent labelling practices of plant retailers, a horticultural expert has claimed.

Helen Yemm explained in her gardening column on The Telegraph that too many gardening centres include marketing names on packets, which can confuse less experienced buyers and lead to the wrong flower being bought, since the seller ends up "moving the goalposts".

In her view, the whole plant-naming business can get "highly complicated", so people should do plenty of "homework" on the topic as well as checking custom labels in-store.

Ms Yemm gave an example of how her friend purchased a blue plumbago rather than a conventional plumbago, saying: "As many know, to their cost, plant names can be confusing anyway: a friend of mine, who by his own admission is neither a gardener nor a Latin-lover, got his fingers singed when he went to a garden centre and asked for a blue plumbago to grow in a pot."

However it is not just the labels on plants that can cause problems in the garden; horticultural educator Patti Nagai urged gardeners to check and double-check the instructions on a pesticide before using it.

If a pesticide is not known to kill the bug that a gardener wants to get rid of, then it is certainly not worth applying to plants, since it may cause problems for the plants themselves and create a health risk, she explained.

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