Monday, May 26, 2008

I Didn't Kill It!

So far two of seven Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' have emerged. The one that's doing the best is the one I dug up, trimmed roots, and replanted. Yep, the same one a squirrel dug up two days later. It's the bigger of the two that have finally emerged.

The others are either dead or sleeping. I'm tempted to start digging the rest up, one at a time, to inspect and clean the roots, and see if that will jump-start their growth. There were several dead root sections on the one I dug up, and I think it may have appreciated its fresh start more than it suffered from being dug up. twice.


  1. I hope you have good luck in rejuvenating them. If they aren't coming up anyway, it probably can't hurt.
    I'm always so sad when a favorite plant doesn't come back in the spring. I have a peach rose given to me as a gift last year that looks dead, but I keep hoping and checking each day for a little sign of green. One of these days I'm going to have to give it up and dig it out.

  2. Well I hope they all show up their pretty face sooner or later, to your utmost delight. I don't have any yet, but Baptisia is surely one lovely plant I'd love to have. I'm a sucker for all those dramatic perennials with spires. Last fall I had a crazy idea of leaving one of my Passion flower plants outdoors ( it was the only one in the ground, so I decided not to dig it out again). I put on some winter protection and it even lived through the first cold wave. But another cold wave killed off all of my hopes. It died all the way to the ground but I never had the time to dig it out, and just a few days ago I spotted a tiny growth from the base. Need I mention the 'crazy dance' I did? ;-)

  3. I wonder what is going on with that ? I'm waiting to see how it turns out .. and Purple Smoke is one I would certainly get if I had the space too ! keep updating Garden Girl !
    Good luck : )

  4. You never know with plants. Which ones have the stuff to survive. And which ones don't. I cut back a couple of Boston ferns, which I've done many times. And they died. I was surprised. Usually cutting back rejuvenates them.

  5. Good luck...with the Baptisia. Maybe they will surprise you and all come up....sometimes they are late.


  6. Henry Mitchell used to talk about the numbers of peonies he investigated to death, checking what was wrong ;-]

    Hope your other baptisias show up, but cheers for this one, Garden Girl!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  7. Rose, thank you! I think luck is just what I need! I found one more sprouting this morning, one tiny little sprout, but by the time I got home it had been trampled, probably by a rabbit. Humph!

    I hope your rose comes back too. With this cool (cold!) spring we've been having, some things are later than usual.

    Violet, me too! I went all out on the baptisia and bought seven of them, since I know they don't divide or transplant well. My fingers are crossed, hoping the others are just late.

    Joy, they all developed some sort of black spot fungus shortly after planting, and all died back late in the summer, same as the ones at the nursery where I got them. I think the fungus weakened them. I did dig up another one, and it's roots look alive, but had much more dead stuff on them than the first one I dug up.

    Brenda, sorry about your ferns. I was tempted to get a couple of them at work - they just came in on Saturday, and boy were they gorgeous. I was spared spending the money though, as they are all already sold.

    Gail, thanks! It's been such a cold spring so far, I'm hoping more of them will come up when (if) it finally warms up around here. Today the high was only 49 degrees. Yuk! This has to be the longest winter ever in Chicago!

    Annie, I don't usually mess with stuff like this, but after experimenting with the first one and trimming the dead stuff off the roots, since it did come up now I'm tempted to the same with the others. I did dig up one and trim the roots, but am restraining myself for now with the rest. I'm hoping our chilly spring has just delayed them. :(

  8. Lovely plants. Hopefully they're just getting a slow start. We had several plants that Cheesehead was ready to throw away because they weren't growing. Guess what. They're growing. It's a good thing we're such goor procrastinators around here!

  9. Cinj, I sure hope they still come back. I won't be digging them up for the compost anytime soon, especially not after all the surprises that came up in my garden this year, some I'd never seen before, and some I thought were dead, like a couple of bleeding hearts that never came up at all last year. I've never had perennials go dormant for a year or more and then come back. It's sure exciting when something you thought was dead shows it's pretty face a year or more later!

  10. Hi Linda, I love all the baptisias. We have several varieties and they all come up a different times. It might be how deeply they are planted, the older ones seems later than the younger new ones. One is so much later, by several weeks even to emerge, don't know why. I always think it is dead, but it is just late. I have to mark them all so they don't get disturbed by an impatient digger looking for a place for that newly purchased plant. HA

  11. These little garden miracles are always so exciting. I hope the other ones come up for you very soon.!

  12. Frances, I wouldn't be concerned except for the fungus last year. It has been a very cool spring, and I know they can be late to emerge, so I'm torn between patience and action. It will be interesting to see if the second one I dug up is next to emerge. I've had baptisias in gardens before, never lost one in the past. They're usually sturdy plants, but then again, I've never had this cultivar before.

    Amy, I hope so too. It's always a good feeling when something you've written off returns. I haven't given up on these yet, still hoping they're just taking their time this chilly spring.

  13. I sure hope you figure it out... I can't be of much help since I have never grown Baptisia... it is a lovely plant and I hope it comes back for you.
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

  14. Isn't it great when plants hang on? Hope this is the first of many pleasant surprises!

  15. It amazes me what lives and dies. I can baby something to death and it dies then ignore it and lives. Last summer in the middle of a drought--we transplanted two Rose of Sharons and some Crepe Myrtles. They had no water all summer--yep--they are doing great after being transplanted this Spring. Who can ever figure out what will make it.

  16. I hope your 'Purple Smoke' makes it. Mine just started blooming for the first time & it is spectacular. Last spring the squirrels dug up a young Redbud tree, so I know how you feel about the little buggers. Usually, if you catch the damage right away, the plant can be saved.

  17. Meems, I hope so too! I'm glad to see two of them at least.

    Monica, it's always interesting to me to see what makes it and what doesn't. From what I understand, digging up Baptisia can kill them - they're sensitive to dividing, and once they're in the ground they should be left alone. Yet, the one I dug is one of only two to emerge (so far - I'm still hoping for the best with the rest.)

    Anna, I hear you on that! It's amazing how happy some plants are with neglect, and how demanding others are. You just never know. . .

    MMD, I'm jealous that yours are blooming! I don't expect mine to bloom this year, but I wouldn't mind if they surprised me.

    I make daily inspections for a couple of weeks after planting anything new, since that's the period when things seem most vulnerable to the little buggers. I've had a few failures that were dug up on hot windy days and didn't survive the ordeal, but I agree, if caught early, most do survive and recover, as long as I can find them to replant.


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