Finding a garden marker that is useful for my farm has become an incredible challenge over the years. Most store bought tags and those you craft yourself are great for one season, possibly two if you are lucky. Water, wind and sun are extremely damaging to most surfaces and paints.
You can purchase professional tags but the cost is prohibitive for me. With many plants to tag and new ones being added all the time, I really had to find a better solution. The best thing I have found is copper tags that I buy from a garden supply store named Lee Valley Garden Tools. They come in a package of 50 tags with copper wires to attach to a stake.
You permanently engrave the plant name by using a regular ball point pen. I press firmly on a flat hard surface to get a solid marking on the tag. There is nothing to wash off or fade away.
For plant stakes there was no use using wood as it rots out too quickly, so I used a medium gaged wire and made loops about 8-10 inches long that I then curved into a U shape. The wire is light enough to easily bend and cut with wire clippers but heavy enough to insert into the ground several inches. The copper tags are securely attached to the wire loops with the copper wire.
I’ve had some of these tags in my daylily patch for upwards of 7 years and I can still see the writing. The copper will weather to an attractive green patina but this will not interfere with the lettering. Lasting as long as they do, and with such accuracy I have found these to be not only inexpensive, but a great time saver. As well the deer and moles leave them alone and they are unobtrusive in the garden.