Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Fab Fabiaceae


Please meet this lovely water color painted baptisia~~
(all photos can be enlarged, just click on them)

They were added to the garden this past winter,

after I found them hiding under the 50% off table at my favorite nursery.
Although, the variety name was new, baptisias were just what was needed to jazz up the back garden.
Tough plants, they could take neglect! I bought all of them~~and look at them bloom!


Baptisia x bicolor 'Starlite' was bred by Dr. Jim Ault from the Chicago Botanical Gardens. Starlite a robust and vigorous australis and bracteata cross is a medium-sized, soft-colored perennial.


It's a gentle color, some see periwinkle, but, it's more lavender to my eye!
Does it need something bold to make it pop!
I don't think so~~
The soft lavender is perfect with the lunaria and Phlox pilosa.

The stems on this sweetie pie arch gently,
rather then stand up
straight
and tall like B australis.


They were planted in winter and when they emerged a few weeks ago I was surprised to see the flower bracts among the leaves. These were young plants, stressed from living in containers for too long and they shouldn't have bloomed!

But they did.

Perhaps, this is what the breeders meant by robust and vigorous!

I am expecting Starlite to grow to be about 3 foot tall and wide. In my zone 7 garden they flower in April and May and have good looking gray green foliage that will add that different leaf shape that's needed in this garden. Expect the best bloom production in full sun, but light shade is fine. I have never had any problems with any of the baptisias I grow...except, they really DO NOT like to be transplanted! False Indigos develop a huge taproot that resents being moved. Ixnay on the dividing them for more plants! Do yourself a favor, let them go to seed...The black bean pods are beautifully ornamental and you will get a few volunteer seedlings. Transplant the seedlings while they are young! All baptisias prefer neutral to slightly sweet soil. I've amended the soil, but for the most part, it's just decent garden dirt on the neutral side. Zones 3-8.




Wildflowers and ephemerals are planted under them. Nearby is Mexican Feather Grass, daylilies, PPPP, Phlox paniculata "David" and much later bloomers like rudbeckias, zinnias, echinaceas, sedums, asters, liatris and others.

I like this companion plant list from Digging Dog nursery~~
Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis), Blackberry Lily (Belamcanda chinensis), Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii), Helen's Flower (Helenium ), False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides), Daylily (Hemerocallis), Coral Bells (Heuchera ), Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica), Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis), Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides), Meadow Phlox (Phlox maculata), Shining Coneflower (Rudbeckia nitida)

For more information on the TwilightPrairie series...go here.


My friends~~Here's a fab fabiaceae I found for you in the 'lawn'!
Remind me to share my secret song for conjuring up a four leaf clover!
I am hoping this brings Dave (The Home Garden) good luck in the 48 Hour Challenge voting. He built a very cool arbor...(go here to see it) and voting starts today!

I do hope you all have enough time in your gardens and with your loved ones this weekend.
Gail

58 comments:

  1. Good morning my dear! Your baptisias are wonderful, way to buy them all, now that's the ticket to a gardening wonderland! HA I would definitely like to know the secret to the four leaf clover, never have found one, must depend on Semi for that. She finds one with ease everytime. You must share that trait, among others. And yes, we must vote for Dave!
    Frances

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  2. Gail, I am sure those Baptisias are adoring you for rescuing them as much as you are adoring their blooms this spring. Happy May...

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  3. P.S. I also wanted to say that I bet Georgia Okeefe would think this photo a picture of one of her paintings. It is gorgeous. I wonder what kind of fly that is on it too?? Ain't nacher grand!!

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  4. Gail- Beautiful Baptista! I love purple. I planted one last year and now can't find it, think the voles got it. :-(

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  5. Thanks so much for the info on the baptisia. I had no idea they like sweet soil. I added 'Carolina Moonlight' last summer. It disappeared pretty promptly but all have returned this year. I am thrilled. One is actually blooming. I moved the other two:) Just call me the mover. I'll add a bit of wood ash soon. I first learned about these in school and had no idea they were so tough. Simply love em! Now I have to go vote! We got tons of rain-a good thing as I've been planting and am pretty well done-yahoo! Might show up at Gro Wild tomorrow since I'm going to do the garden tours in Bellemeade anyhow. I hope it does not rain all day:(

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  6. Frances, You would have been climbing under all the tables with me looking for treasures. I did get an absolutely lovely Carolina Moonlight...She bloomed, too...not as prolific as these Prairieblues from Chicago. Have a delicious weekend...gail

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  7. Lisa, Nature is the grandest...where is my insect id book when I need it. My biologist son has it on his bookshelf in Rhode Island. I adore these plants and do wish they bloomed half as long as PPPP.

    Gail

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  8. SO beautiful, Gail! I love baptisias in general. B. australis was one of the first plants I added to the Cultivated Wild Meadow, and of course I love its seedpods, too. Now I have many strong clumps in there to add a little stateliness to the general disorder! And, ahem, just what is this song you're alluding to?! Okay, guess I'd better head over to Dave's...

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  9. Janet, So sorry you lost it to the voles. Do keep trying...Maybe a few rocks lining the planting area would help!

    Gail

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  10. Tina, I knew they liked it on the sweet side but my soil is pretty neutral. There will be some time when you can't move them because the tap root will be too long. I suspect that they recover but don't bloom for a year...I am not going to try it...

    The sky just opened and let loose another heavy rainfall. It pounds the plants. I am pretty sure the grass grew an inch last night.

    Thanks for the reminder that the tours were on. Do you know which one and what time you'll be at the first tour? gail

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  11. What beautifully-colored blooms on your new baptisias Gail!

    My Purple Smoke baptisias seem to be gonners. The one that remained struggled last spring, then disappeared. I'll try again, with the species this time. Purple Smoke didn't seem to like it here.

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  12. Our Friend Ben, I think I would be very at home in your Cultivated Wild Meadow...it was the 'general disorder' description that resonated with me! You might want to check out the Prairieblues series. Solar Flare is one I want to find! Here's what the wrote~~"Flowers initially open a pleasing lemon-yellow color, taking on a unique orange to violet blush with age." gail

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  13. gardengirl, Oh, I am so sorry...You might want to try the ones that were bred in Illinois at the botanical gardens. They appear to be quite hardy and if they can survive me and C&L...Gail

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  14. Gail:
    You have struck gold with the Starlite..... I first added Twilite, but although it is extremely vigorous, its colour is a washed out darker purple with what is supposed to be a bright yellow keel. I was quick to run and find the charming Starlite.... these are such easy to care for and drought tolerant plants are they not? Goegeous photos and great info....thanks for sharing!

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  15. Gail -- you have some lovely baptisia colors in your garden! We were at the Raulston Arboretum on Wednesday where they have so many. They had planted bearded irises with theirs for synchronized blooms and were great combos. I have only the b. australis, but they are great flowering plants. There are hundreds of babies this year! I thought some army caterpillars had destroyed them (ate 3 foot baptisia in only a few hours) last September, but they have all sprouted back and are beginning to flower.
    I will be in Paris next week, but will have some scheduled photos posting while we're away... with comments off since I won't have a laptop with me and I can't type that fast on an iPod!

    Have a great weekend!
    cameron

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  16. A really cook plant Gail! That's good advice on the tap root. I would be very tempted to divide it, not now! I wonder how cuttings would work?

    Thanks for the link!

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  17. Beautiful photos, Gail. I love baptisias, and some any pretty colors! I can't decide which color I like more.

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  18. Dave, I don't know about stem cuttings, but why not. I think these plants would be perfect in your garden...you've got the sun and the space for them to spread out. It was pleasure to add the link! Good luck with the contest!

    gail

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  19. lzyjo, I was just reading about the Solar Flare and i am going to try to locate it...the color changes from lemon yellow to a purple sounds wonderful...I totally recommend these plants and amsonias! gail

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  20. Sooooooooo pretty! I can't believe we almost chunked ours out. LOL I didn't know it came in different colors.

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  21. Cameron, Wonderful news all around. The baptisias survived and your trip sounds divine! Army caterpillars! Yikes! I think I need a duck or something in the garden to eat the bad bugs...but they also eat the good ones!

    Have fun.

    gail

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  22. Jamie and Randy, it does and if you follow the link, you'll find one that sounds delicious=Solar Flare. I like Cameron's idea to plant them with iris....Glad you didn't chuck it out...it will bloom beautifully soon! gail

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  23. Teza, Thank you for the kind compliments...I love the gentle color of the Starlight, one site described it as being a deeper color and that would have been disappointing! The arching stems are a treat, too! Can you tell that now I am intrigued by Solar Flare! Have a great weekeend.

    gail

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  24. You and Frances always have the best info..........!

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  25. Thanks for showcasing the baptisia, Gail. It's a flower that I've considered adding to my new garden area, so I appreciate all the info. Purple/lavender and pink is my favorite color combination--I bet it plays well with PPPP, too:)

    I'll have to check out Dave's Garden!

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  26. Darla,

    You know that is the sweetest compliment. I love being grouped with Frances...She is a fantastic gardener. Have a good weekend...gail

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  27. Rose, Baptoisia and amsonias would be good in your garden. You could plant them with the gorgeous tulips you have. I am hoping that the Chicago Botanical garden has a few plants I can slip into the extra suitcase I am going to purchase for contraband plants! If they are selling any of the Prairie series...into the suitcase they will go....Oh to have a Mary Poppins carpet bag.

    gail

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  28. That is a wonderful delicate color Gail. What a find ~ it pays to look hard at the 50% off table, doesn't it? Yesterday I discovered a Thermopsis in my front flower bed (which reminds me of Baptisia ~ are they in the same family? I must look that up) Anyway, I forgot I bought it last fall as well and tucked it in amongst the penstemons. I decided to move it into my new space around the pond and now I'm hoping I didn't disturb the tap root either. Of course it's no where near ready to bloom! I agree that yours are performing so beautifully because they are thankful to you for the rescue. Have a wonderful weekend too my friend.

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  29. I just bought two yesterday but my nursery doesn't have such a great collection. I did order the one called "Purple Smoke" last fall from an online source. They are some of my favorite flowers.

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  30. Gail,
    The dark leaved plant with the red bloom in the wheelbarrow is a type of celosia. All celosia's have the coolest foliage..

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  31. Darla, I thought as much, but it's always best to ask. I love the tall celosias...that reminds me...time to toss out the seeds! Thanks for id! gail

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  32. Phillip, I've read about that variety Phillip. I've heard that some older gardeners called False Indig Iron Plant because the stems were iron colored. Aren't Purple Smoke's stems quite dark? Has it bloomed for you? I do think I am going to add one or two more to the garden...they grow here so happily, like roses in your garden. gail

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  33. Kathleen, I do think that Thermopsis and baptisia are cousins! I have a thermopsis and she's blooming right now. It''s a pretty yellow or was before the rains started. (Forgive me I am whining! An inch of rain in less then an hour is way too much rain.) it will look great by the pond? Did you decide how to disguise the pond edges? gail

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  34. That Baptisia is lovely with the Phlox!

    It looks like some of my Baptisia alba seedlings are B. alba/ australis crosses, which is nice. They look a good bit like Starlite.

    I like your post title too!

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  35. I adore baptisia; mine's just come up, in those tightly-wound, hosta-like spikes. But it grows pretty quickly and looks awesome by early June.

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  36. Hi Gail, I don't know why I've never grown baptisia. It is certainly lovely. Perhaps I'll find a sale and really be motivated.

    Have a wonderful May Day and enjoy your garden this weekend.
    Marnie

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  37. Love them! What a coincidence that you mention water colour, so did I in my post today... Have a lovely weekend you too in your garden!

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  38. These are wonderful -- and yes, I see lavender, too. :) Gorgeous bloomers.

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  39. Such a pretty color! You found a great treasure and it seems to be thriving in your garden. Love the baptisias and it will be just a bit before I have a few to share with you.

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  40. i love all plants (except goutweed) but I especially love the 50% off plants that bloom like crazy when I really didn't expect much from them at all. so happy to hear your baptisia is doing so well. another plant for my must-have list. happy gardening.
    irena

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  41. Gail,

    That color is almost 'other-wordly'! Very beautiful indeed.

    And how interesting that baptisias, which thrive in my alkaline, sandy soil also do so beautifully all the way over in TN!

    Chloe M.

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  42. Your Baptisia looks a lot further along than mine, which for me looks like some sort of Asparagus about ready to harvest.

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  43. If I've seen this lovely plant, I don't recall it. I would love to add it to my garden. So subtle in color...
    Brenda

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  44. I love those delicate colors!

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  45. Starlite is such a soft, beautiful color. I just love Baptisia, the flowers, the foliage, the seedpods, just an all around great plant. You are so lucky your Baptisia bloomed the first year. Mine sat there for a couple of years before sending up one bloom stalk. This year, it looks like there will be six, and maybe they'll be in bloom when you visit.

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  46. MMD, They are lovely plants and I can't help but think that the prairie series are all early bloomers. This color is special...and what a surprise it's been. I can't wait to see your wildflowers!
    Gail

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  47. Gail, these are lovely-the color, the growth habit, everything about them. I think they must be rewarding you for finding them and giving them a new home. Thanks for sharing!

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  48. That periwinkle blue is a color I'm absolutely in love with, as you know. Just beautiful!

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  49. Great deals on those Baptisias Gail! And looks like they are happy as can be at C & L since they are blooming their heads off. I added a white native variety to my garden this spring. Can't wait until it looks as great as yours!

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  50. Dear Gail......another beautiful plant in your lovely garden....and yes I would say more lavender, to my eye....
    It is always a pleasure to see such perfect blooms....

    I tried today to get PPP from the garden centre.....they did not have any....
    I shall try another centre on Monday.....I will not give up until I have a couple of plants for my garden........

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  51. I had no idea there was such breeding work going on with baptisias - and I'm impressed yours bloomed the first year! With the species types, I haven't seen bloom until at least a year or two has passed (it's that hate-transplanting thing). 'Starlite' is beautiful (except I have trouble with that spelling, but never mind), and you photos do it full justice, gorgeous.

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  52. Difficult for me to relate to your words....."They were added to the garden this past winter".....it must be extra fun to be a gardener in zone 7-ish. I enjoyed every word and every photo in this post. And a four-leaf clover...you lucky gal.

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  53. Hi Gail,
    I love Baptisia! Haven't seen this variety before ... we just have Australis and adore it. It's just coming up now so probably won't bloom until late May or June.

    We successfully transplant small seedlings, but you're definitely right on the no dividing! I don't know how one could break up that woody mass they develop over the years (a chainsaw maybe?). With a little pampering, the little ones do well... we've given a lot away over the years and my sister is now the delighted owner of one that has gotten about 3' tall in the past couple of years....

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  54. so delicate and beautiful!

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  55. I do believe I love their foliage as much as their flowers. I finally got some growing my garden this past year, and they should bloom in a couple of weeks.~~Dee

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  56. I just discovered baptisias last summer. I love the colors of yours, I thought they were only purple or white. I also love the foliage on them but I do hope I get to see a bloom or two this year.

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  57. Helllloooooo Gail !!
    I'm sorry to be in the last of the pack again .. stressed with the deck reno, but they finally poured the concrete for the footings.
    I am also so happy to report I did NOT kill my gorgeous Baptisia when digging out the old apple tree .. I was so worried I damaged it but now their little cone shaped heads are peeking up, so phew ! I will catch up to your s in a couple of months ??? LOL

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  58. Oooh... I have the straight species, but I LOVE your 'Starlite' too! (And I hope that my new 'Carolina Moonlight,' which were freebies from the garden center at the end of the season, bloom as beautifully for me as yours are.)

    Can't believe that you already have baptisia flowers, by the way, because mine are just now starting to emerge from the ground!

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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