Phlox at Tower Hill Botanical Garden, Phlox paniculata 'Blue Paradise'
Nothing says summer to me like the scent of tall garden phlox, Phlox paniculata. They are eye and nose level to a child just learning to seek out flowers in the garden and steal a whiff. I remember clearly the scent of my Grandmother's garden phlox which were deep magenta and standing sentry by the shed. I can almost hear the cicadas monotonous summer humm while standing nose deep next to the phlox. Many years later there are many cultivars to choose from ranging from clear white through deep purple with just about everything in between. In my garden I have several currently blooming. The first is not actually a paniculata species but is thought to be a cross between carolinia and maculata. These two species bloom earlier and have resistance to powdery mildew. I have never seen any powdery mildew on these plants. The deer do, however, love them and nibbled them early missing a couple of blooms. This is pure white. The others in the garden include this unnamed cultivar of
with the white eye, the exceptionally large headed pale lilac
and this odd one in the 'Feelings' series called 'Natural Feelings'. Seems an unfortunate name to me but in researching this a bit I came across more of the 'Feelings' cultivars. There are many and you can check them out here. I did laugh at the 'Empty Feelings' name when I read that it has a fairly developed bract rather than a flower and thus is sterile. Others in the series include Pure Feelings, Pleasant Feelings, Fancy Feelings, Red Feelings and Midnight Feelings. There are more. I know that the flowers of 'Natural Feelings' do not shatter as fast as the paniculata flowers which are lovely to pick but don't last very long as a cut flower and they are all over the table before you know it. Phlox paniculata and the other garden phlox species prefer rich soil with a neutral pH and benefit from culling the shoots in the spring to a grouping of five to seven. This will keep them from being too crowded and reduce the problems of powdery mildew. I can't imagine a garden without a few of these garden phlox. Please leave a comment but as I am away until next Sunday I cannot respond until then. Comments are always a thrill for me!