Baptisias are essentially shrubs in full sun gardens, small ones. The flower stems are 4 to 5 feet in height, but the actual plant is shorter, especially after the leafy stems bow down in early summer to hide the plant's bare knees. I needed something taller too. The rugosas provide a much-needed medium height to the garden, most topping out at 4-5'. Eventually they will end up wider than tall as they sucker.
Foxi Pavement in background
Rosa rugosa alba
I bought the rugosa Foxi Pavement after seeing it at a nursery where I went to get a Florida azalea.
Then three Buddleia 'Potter's Purple', a Carolina rose, and three Hansas went in.
R. rugosa rubra with Hansa and iris Dusky Challenger
The Buddleias end up around 8 feet high by the end of the summer but are whacked back to around 4 feet every March. I wish there was a native full-sun shrub of similar height and dense texture that could withstand short-term flooding and drought but there are not many choices. I'm thinking the best option may be Golden St. John's Wort.
The front of the big bed is a shallow ditch that presents its own challenges. The bank above the ditch has proved to be a beast, dry and barren. Most of the area has remained stubbornly free of anything truly perennial. Some years Monarda 'Claire Grace' reaches that far before retreating, and other years Bidens grow there. A pain to keep weeded until the Bidens size up in August. Did I say Uncle already? Last fall several Baptisia went in the bank above the ditch.
In the ditch itself are Hubricht's Blue Star, Commuter daylilies, spiderworts, Smooth Beardtongue, Blue Flags and Japanese Iris that have their turn in spring before the Bidens take over.
Smooth Beardtongue in the ditch and foxglove and Verbena bonariensis on the bank, late May 2008
Hubricht's Amsonia forms a cloud of foliage 3' by 3' wide and holds its own again anything, even Bidens, wet year or dry. The Commuter daylilies are the same. On the other hand, Spiderworts, Irises and Beardtongues,which are happy in wet years
Foxi Pavement and Smooth Beardtongue, May 2008
and dive underground or basically shrivel up to the size of a quarter when the weather turns dry. So last fall and this spring I added more Rosa palustris scandens and Hubricht's Blue Star. The Amsonia has the grace and movement of an ornamental grass and a soft texture. It's by far my favorite perennial for foliage effect.
May '09, Hubricht's Blue Star center
and lower left, April 2010.
I put this Rosa palustris scandens in about 5 years ago.
I want to add more Meadow Rue from the floodway fields too, just because I like how it looks with the roses, and it gets lovely and full in a garden setting.
The palustris scandens get quite tall, 6-8' in height, but they are at least 3' lower than the highest part of the bed, and are out to the sides and not at front center.
More later.... :)