Baptisia gone wild

This past weekend was my 17th wedding anniversary, and before I get into this post, I had to show you the gift we received from my daughter: 
Is that classic or what? That girl never ceases to amaze me.
A big part of this weekend was spent at my parents house in Northern New Jersey so my wife and I could go out on the town and celebrate our anniversary while we dumped left the kids in their capable hands. A phenomenal dinner with my bride at Savini and some post game drinks and we were a happy twosome. 
But let me stop there, this wasn’t the purpose of my post today.     
A little over three years ago, I helped my parents with a small landscape renovation along the front of their home. All of the shrubs had become overgrown and a little blah, in my humble opinion. I was totally game to help them out knowing that they would be looking to put their house on the market within two to three years from that point. We wanted immediate impact and focused on fast growing shrubs and perennials. 
No problem.
My dad completely cleared out the area to be made over so we could dive right into the plantings:

I won’t bore you with all of the details, but here is how it looked directly in front of the house by the end of the day:

Not too bad.

But what I want you to focus on are the three Baptisia (‘Prairie Blues’ to be specific) planted smack dab in the middle of the bed :

I figured within a two to three year period they would be mature and the awesome blooms would be a focal point at the time potential buyers visited their house: 

When all was said and done, we seemed to be on good terms:

Well, fast forward three + years and I’ve successfully created a nice dilemma for my poor parents.

The friggin Baptisia absolutely exploded the following spring and took over the area like nobody’s business. My father had to use a few sticks of TNT and a backhoe to dig out one of the plants so he could relocate it to the backyard. If I weren’t blood, he may have sued me for mental cruelty.

As of today, there are two remaining in their front bed:

As I type this, my OCD is kicking in big time knowing the Baptisia are not grouped in an odd number but I’ll have to fight through it knowing I’ve already put my parents through hell.

Actually, my mistake may have lead to a new design option my father invented as a means of survival. I like to call it “vase-like” or maybe “broccoli spear like” but whatever you want to call it, it is definitely creative:   

Impressive, eh? The aesthetic is wonderful and you can feel the emotions all tied up (pun intended) in the design. Just remember where you saw it first.

As I reviewed and analyzed my work this weekend, I realized how much I’ve learned in only three short years and none more than trusting what you research on plant spacing. My parents soil is PERFECT and that means plants will love it, especially a tough as nails plant like Baptisia.

The charming Cape Cod I grew up in now looks out of balance with those behemoths in front: 

Now I can only hope my inheritance isn’t affected in any way.


5 thoughts on “Baptisia gone wild

  1. FlowerLady Lorraine

    Happy 17th Annaversare! 🙂 And may you have many more. (I loved your daughter’s card)

    Gardening is certainly a learning process as it all of life. Glad you and your Dad are still on speaking terms.

    May you continue to grow and learn with each new day.


  2. jj

    We just celebrated 41 years together and it appears you will too. The best part about the landscaping you helped your parents with is that you did it together. It looks great!! ( even with 2 plants.) As in Life, gardening is an ever changing thing. Enjoy each change.

  3. Julie Adolf

    First of all, the card is beyond darling. Those little kiddos are pretty stinking cute, aren’t they?

    Now, I have to share that my three Baptisia, also planted directly in front of the house–specifically, along the front walk–have completely taken over. Seriously, you can barely make it to our front door without being accosted by them. My darling hubby decided to rein them in with a very attractive twine and wood contraption (think mini-fence). So, not only do we have plants molesting our visitors, they’re also greeted by an ineffective, beyond rustic fence thingy.

    It’s time to move some Baptisia.

    Happy Anniversary!

  4. allanbecker-gardenguru

    Happy Anniversary, John

    Your post has pointed a finger at the elephant in the room, err, read elephant in the garden: Baptisia cannot grow neatly in a flower bed that is up close and personal unless it is staked and tied loosely and manicured after blooming. Then it responds like an obedient shrub. Next season. I hope your Dad will loosen the noose around the stems and transform the shape from “vase” into “fountain”.

  5. John Markowski

    Lorraine – Thank you for the kind words!

    jj – Wow, big congrats on 41! You did it right.

    Julie – Thank you for making me feel better about my baptisia failure. Those blooms are too damn tempting

    Allan – Thanks Allan! Will push pops for the “fountain” look.

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