Dunnville Horticulture Society

Dunnville Horticultural Society: Baptisia and bear’s breeches can be great anchors for the garden

Marlene Link says she’s had these plants in her garden for years

Looking for undemanding plants to structure your flower beds around? Two plants that come to mind are baptisia and bear’s breeches.

They have both found their way into my garden for some years. I first planted the purple baptisia and then later acquired the yellow variety.

They both bloom in late spring. I prefer the yellow baptisia, as it is like a ray of sunshine after our long, dark winter. After flowering, the deep blue-green foliage acts as a shrub, growing to a size of about a square metre.

Baptisia tolerates some shade and dry conditions and does well in full sun.

Bear’s breeches is big, bold and beautiful, and can be used as a cut flower and for drying, too.

It should be cut at its peak bloom time. The flower spikes grow around a metre tall, with spiny purple bracelets emerging first before the white flowers appear. The blooms last for several weeks. The flowers resemble snapdragons; the glossy foliage resembles thistle leaves; and the plant has a mounding growth appearance.

The roots grow deep on both baptisia and bear’s breeches, and they are hard to move without leaving root pieces behind, which may regenerate. Keep them in check by placing a bottomless pot in the ground around them, as they will crowd out other plants near them.

Both plants make a great anchor in the garden to build the bed around. Be sure to leave lots of room.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings. If you have questions or comments, please contact president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or check out our website at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.