Photo: Lindley Ashline
Tall perennial Phlox plants provide extravagant summer color and enchanting fragrance.
These North American natives were, like asters, taken to Europe where they were improved and then reintroduced to American gardens with more status after being celebrated abroad.
The name Phlox means flame in Greek, and was assigned because many of the original native plants had red flowers.
Many of the new phlox hybrids are resistant to the mildew that plagues older varieties but, unfortunately, all summer blooming phlox are favored by deer. Phlox paniculata ‘David’ is white and ‘Bright Eyes’ is pink with a crimson eye.
Maintaining Your Phlox
Remember to deadhead these hybrids as if they self seed their progeny revert to a homely magenta color.
Divide perennial phlox frequently so the plants maintain vigor and give them full sun or light shade and good air circulation.
If you pick a bouquet for the house, place the vase on a tray, so that when the individual florets that make up the flower clusters fall, it is easier to clean them up.
Cicely Mary Barker wrote a poem called the ‘Song of the Phlox Fairy.’
August in the garden!
Now the cheerful phlox
Makes one think of country girls
Fresh in summer frocks.
There you see magenta,
Here a lovely white
Mauve, and pink, and cherry-red
Such a pleasant sight!
Smiling little fairy
Climbing up the stem
Tell us which is prettiest?
She says “All of them! “
Phlox were used in tussie-mussies, the small posies carried by ladies during Victorian times in England, as the five petals of each little flower in the clusters of blossoms are not only beautiful but delightfully scented.
Where To Find Them
Local nurseries as well as mail order catalogs usually carry the newer hybrids which are mildew resistant.
www.whiteflowerfarm.com 1 800 503 9624
www.highcountrygardens.com 1 800 925 9387
www.dutchbulbs.com 1 800 622 9997 (van Bourgondien Dutch Bulbs and Perennials Since 1893)