Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday


Even as new life is busting out all over, heralding the start of a new growing season, it's time to think about seeds. My crisper drawer is overflowing with seeds again (many collected from the garden) and I have plans and lots of spaces to fill. I have the voles to thank for a good number of these spaces; even with Prissy on the prowl, the voles are probably responsible for many of the losses over the winter and erasing some of the headway that was made the year before. Prissy has been earning her keep as of late though; she catches at least one or two a day. Tommy, on the other hand, prefers a more decorative role.

Last year I collected several pods worth of seeds from Baptisia 'Prairie Twilite Blues'. Not with any particular plan in mind, but I saw seeds and felt the need to collect them. PTB is a strange brew of colors: the flowers start off a chocolate/violet blend with yellow edging (you can see it on the bottom and far right of the below picture) and mellow to a warm smoky lavender.

pictures are from May 2011
 

I put a couple of seedlings out into the garden this year and a few seedlings came up at the base of the parent plant too. If they make it I wonder how they will turn out.
 

This year if I start more Baptisia seedlings, I'm going to keep them in pots for at least one year or eighteen months. I start so many plants from seed that from time to time I'm swept with this irrational urge to clear the front porch and plant a bunch of them out, but Baptisia are slower growing than a lot of other perennials. As ironclad as they are as mature plants, they stay tiny for a long time when young.

There are also a couple of other hybrids I'd love to add to my garden: Baptisia x 'Midnight', and Baptisia x bicolor 'Starlite'. I'm not sure exactly what 'Midnight' is like since the pictures on the internet look even stanger than those of 'Prairie Twilite Blues', but it sounds intriguing and 'Starlite' just looks really lovely, a soft romantic violet-lavender-shading-to-white blend of colors.

In addition to seeds from the garden, March is the month that we receive the Southeastern native plant seed list from the NC Botanical Garden. This year I'm opting to try:

Sandy Woods Chaffhead

Grass-Leaf Barbara's Buttons (Marshallia graminifolia)

Piedmont Barbara's Buttons (Marshallia obovata)

Two-Leaf Bishop's Cap (Mitella diphylla). See more pictures here.

Savannah Meadow-Beauty (Rhexia alifanus)

Rose Pink (Sabatia angularis)

Alleghany Mountain Golden-Banner (Thermopsis mollis)

Sourwood Now Sourwoods already grow wild here, but I didn't collect any seeds last year and now I have new plans that include a trio of Sourwoods.

Soon I will post pictures of the wildflowers growing around here, but I'm too tired tonight from working outside! Join Gail at clay and limstone for more wonderful Wildflower Wednesdays.



17 comments:

  1. I keep waiting for my baptisia to pop-up, but it is still early. If I remember correctly from last year, one day nothing, the next it's there.

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    1. Les my baptisias come up at different times. One is buried so deep it doesn't bloom until June.

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  2. I am glad to see these pictures of Twilite Prairieblues. Your moody lighting captured them better than I can do. In full sun my plant's blooms look rusty and washed out. Very odd, and I don't care for it, but I like the full foliage all the rest of the year. I think this weird colored baptisia only looks good as a cut flower indoors, where it takes on a purple hue, more like what you captured in the softer light.

    I'm trying a yellow Carolina Moonlight baptisia this year. That should be lovely!

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    1. Laurrie that lavender is its true color here once the blooms get a little age. Perhaps the difference is soil pH?
      The soil is very acidic (5 to 5.5) and the fill dirt and topsoil laid down was ridiculously acidic (4 to 5). I recall seeing your baptisia and the color was indeed quite different from mine. The only thing I could think of that would go with that would be the chestnut and chocolate-colored iris. I have 'Carolina Moonlight' and it is lovely.

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  3. Will be pleased to find out how true the seeds of PTB are to the mother plant. I managed to get this last year, and it looks as if it made it through our winter here in Nova Scotia. I'd like more Baptisia as well..they look great the whole season through until the frost.

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    Replies
    1. Baptisias are great foliage plants, just like small unique shrubs.

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  4. My baptisias have poked their heads up a bit but are still very small. I hope marshallia does well for you. I tried to grow it but it just kept dying on me. Thanks for your kind words about my dog. :o) It's been a rough week.

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  5. I have two Baptisias that are coming up now. In the past two years I have started growing perennials from seed. It is really exciting to watch them come up.

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  6. I have two baptistas, one is further along than the other one. I like the Prairie Twilight Blue, interesting color.
    I will be interested in how your Sourwood trees come along.

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  7. I hope they all grow well for you, and am looking forward to pictures! I never have luck with seeds (snails and slugs always get them)...

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  8. They look great! Love the color on the flowers. If I saved seeds from my wildflowers, the darn birds would eat them all. I don't know how they find them, but they do every single time....even after I've covered up:) Can't wait to see how it all turns out.

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  9. I have seen examples of this plant at the WIldflower Center and they are lovely.

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  10. I love the colors of your new Baptisia Sweetbay. The subtle variations are quite lovely. Lucky to have one kitty who helps you out with the voles!! Happy April!

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  11. Wonderful blog! ~ I'm now following ~ Best, Anne

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  12. I think baptisia is synonymous with your blog. Beautiful.

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  13. Beautiful! I planted Baptisia last year -- don't think it bloomed for me. Hopefully it will this year.

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  14. Sweetbay, That's a fine list and I see several that I wish would grow here. You have wetter soil...Can't wait to see them! gail

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