Gratuitous phlox

I don’t have nearly as many of the tall garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) as I’d like.  The photos are misleading without the big picture so here’s the big picture with a wider view of the potager (complete with freshly trimmed hedge).  A couple (4) in the front bed, and a dozen or so in the back bed is not a lot of phlox.

garden phlox

Mid July and most of the garden phlox are nearing their peak.  Can I call them a favorite flower?  I feel like I do that to something new every other week.

We’re just going from one phlox to the next here.  No commitment.

phlox dorffreude

Phlox ‘dorffreude’… I think that roughly translates to town’s joy?

A few cooler nights have deepened some of the colors and although I don’t know the names for several of these it doesn’t matter as far as enjoying them goes.

phlox paniculata seedling

This random seedling gets a pink tint when the temperatures drop.

But the dry weather has them all a little miserable, and unless they get watered every few days the leaves and flowers wilt and the spider mites procreate.

phlox paniculata seedling

Another random seedling which opens pink and then fades.  Note how bushy the plants are… that’s thanks to this year’s frequent deer, woodchuck, and rabbit nibbling.

The next few days promise more dry, clear skies with temperatures into the 90’s (32+C) and the garden will be on its own as we go off traveling.

phlox nicky laura

The dark purple ‘Nicky’, starry eyed ‘Laura’ and an unknown salmony red passed on from a friend.  A threesome of color.

Of course there’s always the pretty yet troubled one.  Phlox ‘Brigadier’ has a great reddish color yet doesn’t bloom well, is losing stems, is a magnet for mites, and resents every dry spell… but I can usually just get her a drink and she’s ready to go.

phlox brigadier cabots pink

Phlox ‘Brigadier’ with ‘Cabot’s Pink’ in the back.

I guess when you’re jumping from one phlox to the next you’re bound to run into problems but I’ll admit I’m a phlox addict and don’t really want to change.  When I was out at the nursery last week there were about six new ones which I had a chance at and they all looked like a fun time (even if I already have a few waiting at home) but I said no.  It will be a hard enough time staying faithful this winter when it’s just me and the computer and the great online phlox source, Perennial Pleasures.  They’re like a Craigslist for hooking up with new phlox and I’m sure I’ll click on something I shouldn’t.

27 comments on “Gratuitous phlox

  1. johnvic8 says:

    At this time of year, phlox is a staple in my garden. In the past they have rebloomed after deadheading, so I will be doing that now.

    • bittster says:

      I try to pick out any seed pods which form but that can be an awfully tedious job when the weather gets hot, so often I just trim off the faded flower heads when I get fed up.

  2. How about Favorite of the Week? That way, nearly everything can be a favorite once in a while! I wish I could grow phlox here, but you-know-who loves to eat them! As I mentioned before, I am trying one out in the Terrace Garden where the you-know-whos typically don’t travel. It’s nowhere close to blooming, though. Yours look so pretty, especially behind that neatly trimmed hedge!

    • bittster says:

      Things did not look good in the spring, so I’m thrilled to see them coming along now. They are really a plant which responds well to conditions which they like, which is not always what they get here…
      Good luck in hiding yours from the deer. I was looking at the yard last week wondering what I would do if the deer started coming regularly and I couldn’t think of any options which didn’t include firearms or a ten foot fence.

  3. Deborah Banks says:

    We’re behind you in the blooming – so far I only have one in bloom. We rarely get powdery mildew or mites on them up here, but they are slower to bloom. And I have the opposite problem, I have way too many phlox. Sounds like it’s time for us to connect again for a plant swap! I can start digging as mine bloom, so I can identify the varieties for you… or at least show you the bloom. Several of mine are pass-along plants so no idea of the name.

    • bittster says:

      I am completely up for another plant swap, and if phlox are included that’s great, I have yet to meet one which I regretted growing, even if there might have been a few which met an early end in the compost pile.
      I’m often amazed by how much later things are in your neck of the woods, and I bet the cooler soil and shadier spots all add up to a nearly perfect phlox planting! Here on the other hand I’m debating drip irrigation and a semi shaded spot for them in order to compensate for the thin soil and drying winds.

      • Deborah Banks says:

        Sounds good. Not sure at this point when I’ll need to drive to my employer’s main office in PA, but I’ll let you know (and start digging meanwhile). 🙂

  4. Hey! I want “in” on the phlox swap. None of mine are blooming yet. Heck, the daylilies have scarcely gotten started.

    • bittster says:

      Haha, you’re in of course!
      I do have a few phlox which are only now making flower buds, the late ones are even nicer when they bloom since the rest start looking tired towards the month of August.
      I was at the nursery last week and was actually considering taking home a daylily. I’m not a daylily person and don’t like their sickly August foliage, so this is not a good development.

    • Deborah Banks says:

      That sounds good. My early ones are Phlox ‘Junior Dance’ (coral blooms) and ‘Blue Paradise’ (the name says it all). Also I have a hot pink one that’s pretty early.

  5. Annette says:

    Phlox is a no go for me, I’m afraid, they’d sulk themselves to death in our summers. I had a scented one – ‘Clouds of perfume’- which I moved. Just wonder what became of it? Must check tomorrow!

  6. Cathy says:

    Aren’t they lovely! (Said the slug to the snail) … I can’t grow them here. 😦 But I do love them, especially the pale white with a tinge of pink. I just saw Susie’s post of the white one, ‘David’. 🙂
    Wish I could send you some rain… it is pouring again here and I just spotted an enormous black slug inching across the lawn and am now worrying where he was heading. LOL!

    • bittster says:

      Ugh I am so happy slugs are not a problem here. It’s too dry lately and most hide in the mulch piles far from the plants. It’s only in a wet spring that I see the little pests…. But it’s amazing how fast they spring to life and begin their attacks once the rains come!

  7. pbmgarden says:

    You have a great collection of phlox. Enjoy them all. I bought ‘Nicky’ early this spring. Thought it might be more red but I like the color.

  8. Christina says:

    Great colour, I must try some others.

    • bittster says:

      I wonder how phlox would do in your heat?
      Do crape myrtles (lagerstroemia) do well for you? They have such nice bark and look like a shrubby or tree-phlox, they’re just not hardy enough for me…

  9. I have a few varieties of Phlox in my garden, but some of them of other colors have become that hot pink you have shown.

    • bittster says:

      Phlox do seed around a bit and not all of the seedlings are as nice as the parents, but I’m always curious to see how they turn out. I have plenty of the lighter pinks, so usually weed them out, but whites and darker colors and any with a pattern are always welcome.

  10. Sometimes it’s the problem child that we love best. I hope you and your Phlox get some rain soon.

  11. willisjw says:

    We have found the phlox increasing every year and seemingly getting taller as they age. In the springtime I look at them and wonder whether they are weeds as they seem to be growing with great vigor. But by now they intermix freely with the lilies and certainly please the eye…

    • bittster says:

      A friend of mine had a garden where phlox were left to do their own thing. It was a mess otherwise, but when the phlox opened and were in full bloom you would think it was all planned!

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