Sunday, May 13, 2012


Lately, lameness-related problems with the horses, health-related problems with my eldest cat, and lots of garden and farm work have left me with no energy to work on posts at the end of the day. However, I am happy with the garden and I miss blogging. In March and early April I have angst about holes in the garden and projects not finished, and there is a tremendous amount of weeding and clearing up to do. Then beginning in mid-April the azaleas and baptisias and iris and roses bloom and everything is wonderful.

The Baptisia have mostly finished up blooming but their beauty stays with me all year. My favorites are the crisp whites and the lovely blues and purples.

Baptisia alba

Tony Avent of Plant Delights has coined the phrase "red-neck lupines" for baptisias. One of my Baptisia seedlings especially reminds me of an exquisite lupine that is native to our sandhills, the Sundial Lupine (Lupinus perennis).

Sundial Lupine, photographed at the NC Botanical Garden in April.

Baptisia alba x australis seedling

Baptisia 'Carolina Moonlight'

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'

Baptisia australis

One of two young blue baptisias in the garden that's on the bluer side of purple.

The other one is a softer shade of blue. It didn't bloom this year because I allowed it to get too shaded by a Foxi Pavement rugosa sucker last year.

(pic from 2010)

Baptisia Prairie Twilite Blues' is a wierd color when it first
opens. In my garden the new flowers are a deep chocolatey purple

that fade to a lovely smoky lavender.

When the Baptisia are finished blooming (the alba and 'Purple Smoke' are finished in the pictures below although an australis is still in bloom) they form the rounded mounds of lacy foliage.

Together with irises and roses baptisias are my favorite spring flowers. I can't imagine a spring garden without them.


  1. My baptisia grows in a bit of shade but seems happy so far. It's a Prairie Twilight Blue. I love it!! Your garden looks great - so lush!

  2. Before I knew any better, I fell in love with Lupines, what a big disappointment. When I heard Tony Avent speak about Baptisias being the red-neck version, I had to have them. I just wish I had enough room to have as many as you do.

  3. Les I still want a lot more than I have.

  4. Gorgeous pictures! I need to look for some baptisias. I had never heard of them before reading your blog!
    Happy Mother's Day!!!

  5. Your garden is really looking fabulous! I have Carolina Moonlight but I must look for a blue variety. They are lovely! I hope your schedule slows down a bit soon and all your animals are healthy again.

  6. One reason I love reading blogs is because I find so many beautiful plants I wouldn't know of otherwise. I am now going to be researching baptisias. Yours are just gorgeous. I especially love the Purple Smoke. Your garden is lovely!

  7. Such a great and lush variety. The photos inspire me to get a few more. Had never heard of the term red neck lupins but it will stay with me! Thank you Sweetbay.

  8. Oh how gorgeous! I love all of them but the Purple Smoke is my favorite in your collection. Have they been planted long? The plants are so large and full of blooms.I have never grown Baptista before but I imagine the pollinators love them. Have a lovely day.

  9. You have given us wonderful pictures of Baptisia 'Alba' and 'Twilite Prairieblues' --- two false indigos that I just can't photograph. They are both great plants in my garden, but so hard to capture. My alba (it's actually a pendula baptisia) is too white to show any detail and Twilite Prairieblues, is, as you say, just weird.

    The low light in your pictures is key. What gorgeous shots.

  10. You are the go-to person for Baptistas! I now have two in my garden, 'Solar Flare' and 'Blue' (?) Love the 'Carolina Moonlight' ...may have to figure out a place for it.

  11. Wow, your Baptista are amazing. I can see why you have so many of them in the garden.

  12. Once again a wonderful showing of the beauty that you grow in your country gardens. Your photographs are fantastic.


  13. What a beautiful parade of baptisias you have shared! Wish we could grow those here...they give the most perfect cottagey effect to a garden. Your property reminds me of the English countryside.

  14. Soo many of them and soo beautiful !!! Gorgeous shots, Sweetbay !!!
    I wonder, if I will found baptisia seeds here, in Europe ...

  15. They are beautiful! I have tried them twice but they died over the winter both times-not sure why because they are hardy.


  16. Hi, I'm the first time in your blog. Baptisia is simple and cute flower. I do not know whether it is growing in our northern zone, I'll try to find a description.
    Saint Petersburg

  17. One of my favorites and I plant even though they need more sun than we have here. They look marvelous in your photos and make me smile imagining the happy bees! gail

  18. Just perfect.

    I love the colour fade on
    Baptisia Prairie Twilite Blues.

  19. I saw on Lona's blog a preview showing that you had a post on baptisais. Of course I had to come over just to admire your collection! They are always so beautiful!

  20. Sorry about your horse and kitty problems. Your garden is looking lovely, as usual.

  21. They are beautiful flowers and you have a lovely selection of colours. They do resemble Lupins - sort of like a species Lupin...less rigid and formal :-)

  22. they are so lovely! are they related with lupins?



  23. You have convinced me to find a place in my gardens for baptisias! Wow...I have grown lupines in the past these look to be a native species. I love how much space you have.
    Always delightful to visit.
    Have a safe Memorial Day Weekend,

  24. Spring is a busy time for all gardeners, so no excuses needed. I hope your pets' health problems will go away, and you will be less busy. Thank you for the lovely baptisia photos, my penstemons are just beginning to bloom, I think I am enjoying them the most now.

  25. What beauties! I have a few, and am excited that the white ones have grown some. They are small, and probably won't bloom this year.

  26. Wow, that is quite a collection Sweetbay! I love these plants too for they grow up over the sea of bishop's weed here. Only lately they are being eaten or at least not surviving. Your garden is lush and lovely as usual. Hope you can catch up on all your work without too much angst. It is endless this time of year and with your animal too, I know you must be stretched. I understand about not having the energy to blog as much.


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