The Idaho Botanical Garden (IBG) is a living museum. As fine art is tracked and catalogued in an art museum, so too are the plants tracked and catalogued at IBG. Information about plants in the collection must be accurately documented to be of value to the public and scientific communities.
Each individual or group of plants is called an accession. Unique accession numbers are assigned to each group of plants that are within the same bed, have the same scientific name, and were received from one source on the same date. Accessioning at IBG is a relatively new process, just a little over a year old, but we have already accessioned over 800 plants!
A small metal tag, engraved with the accession number, is positioned next to or on all perennial plants when they are planted. From this point on, the locations of the accessioned specimens are tracked so they may be found at any time.
Information on each accession is entered into an access database. Currently the database tracks details on over 800 plants, from 42 families, located in 33 acres of gardens. The accession records include scientific name, family name, common name, native range, flowering dates, growth habit and requirements, source of plants, and quantity of plants. In the future, this information will be available on our website and at a Plant Information Kiosk.
The plant identification sign is the most basic educational unit in our Garden. Information on the plant signs comes from the database and includes: common name, scientific name, cultivar, origin, family, and accession number. Labels with information about the plant are created using a thermal transfer printer and placed on black, plastic signs.
Plant Collections staff create bed maps for each garden. The location of each plant accessioned is noted on the bed maps. Currently, bed maps are being drawn by hand, but eventually we will create informational maps, bed maps and document plant locations using GIS software.
For more information, contact the IBG Plant Collections Technician at 208-343-8649.