Gardening Magazine

Baptisia Gone Wild

By John Markowski @jmarkowski0

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: 
Baptisia gone wild
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: Baptisia gone wild
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:
Baptisia gone wild
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 :
Baptisia gone wild
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: 
Baptisia gone wild
When all was said and done, we seemed to be on good terms:
Baptisia gone wild
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:
Baptisia gone wild
Baptisia gone wild
Baptisia gone wild
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:   
Baptisia gone wild
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: 
Baptisia gone wild
Now I can only hope my inheritance isn't affected in any way.

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