A plant with a rich history…Baptisia

By on Jun 12, 2020 in Kick in the Plants! |

Baptisia australis or “false indigo” is native to North America from the Hudson Bay in Canada to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. A hardy and herbaceous perennial it seems to grow well in both northern and southern zones. The plant has never tried to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes so the moniker “false indigo” seems somewhat unfair. Baptisia australis has always been used as a dye but considered “inferior” to dye made from “real” true indigo, Indigofera tinctoria native to Asia. Settlers to the New World saw native Americans were dyeing things blue with a different kind of plant, and called it “false indigo.” Not as effective as the true indigo plant, necessity is the mother of invention so they named it false indigo and the rest is history. The Baptisia element of the name comes from the Greek root bapto- meaning to dip or to immerse. The plant was called...

Adventures in Plant Sitting

By on Aug 2, 2018 in General, Kick in the Plants! |


Garden Party Hangover

By on Jul 20, 2018 in Kick in the Plants! |

Check out this picture I took of the “Corpse Flower” or Titan Arum after done blooming. It gave me a chuckle as the bloom drew huge crowds to get a peek (and a whiff) but can only hold it’s bloom for 24 to 36 hours before it collapses. That’s exactly what this one did…..after the crowds left and the party ended it looked to me like it had a hangover with its tongue hanging out!

Itoh Peonies

By on May 26, 2018 in Kick in the Plants! |

Named for Toichi Itoh, the first hybridizer to successfully cross a tree Peony with an herbaceous Peony in the 1940’s, for  huge, beautiful fragrant blooms and lush green foliage. A cross between a traditional garden Peony and a woody tree peony it takes the best attributes of both plants. These peonies are known as intersectional hybrids. They tend to resemble tree Peonies with a vigorous growth habit and large double flowers with disease-resistant lacy, dark green foliage. After the flowering cycle, gardeners will enjoy the handsome bush for the remainder of the season. We all hope to get better with age like a fine wine….this is a plant that does just that!

Rick’s multiple season interest plant list

By on May 26, 2016 in Kick in the Plants! |

Rick Vuyst’s favorite “3 to 4 season” plants With our busy lifestyles I believe your landscape should work as hard as you do. I also believe that mono-cultures are not a good idea in the landscape and that as in life, diversity is better. Each plant has its season in the sun when it takes center stage. Within a diverse group problems do not spread like wildfire and the diversity presents continual visual interest as each plant plays its role. All these things said there are some plants that step up and deliver a long season, in some cases, multiple seasons of interest in the landscape. A good landscape uses approximately 30% of its foundation in evergreens providing the gravitas and back drop of interest. In some cases the evergreens can serve as a focal point for 4 seasons of interest such as a Weeping Spruce or a conifer that looks like an evergreen but is deciduous with fall color...

Relax…..you’re among “fronds”

By on Dec 3, 2013 in Kick in the Plants! |

I love foliage houseplants. Sure there is the practical side to them, from aesthetically filling space to cleaning indoor air. They are nature’s oxygen generating and filtration system for our indoor living spaces. When our windows and homes are sealed tight for the frigid winter months they improve the quality of our air as well as our visual landscape. January is a long month and if you’re not into winter sports or shoveling the driveway you’re going to be spending a lot of time indoors. You’ve got a friend in foliage. With some light and a little bit of care foliage is the gift that keeps giving year around. I like to talk to my plants. For some that might feel strange but remember the carbon dioxide from your breath can be converted into oxygen by these nature’s miracles. An understanding is needed to successfully grow foliage in our Michigan homes in winter. First of all remember...