Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fabulous Phlox

When people ask me what plant to add to the garden for Fall colour I have to mention phlox as one of the mainstays in the garden.
Don't know the name of this phlox, but  blooms first and furious.  It starts blooming in July and just keeps on going. 
 Not only is phlox a great scrabble word, but it fills in a provides a great background in the garden. The main problem with phlox is mildew. Phlox paniculata cultivars are very susceptible. Various home remedies (1 tsp baking soda to 1 liter of water) help in the early stages, but eventually the leaves just need to be removed. Local climate and soil conditions affect the fungus, but wet summers like this one, help keep the fungus at bay. Some phlox become more susceptible with age, so it is best to pull then out and start anew.
You can also reduce the chance of infection by providing lots of moisture, good air circulation and by thinning the clumps. So, thin mature plants every Spring.
But before the mildew sets in, enjoy the glorious beauty of this garden joy.  My favourite is the phlox above, but I don't know it's name.  It was a division from my sister-in-law and I have watched for it ever since.  It is usually finished blooming by the time mildew sets in, so you can cut it down and let something else take over.
My recommendation is that you plant phlox in spite of the mildew problem.  The plump greenery of this plant is a great backdrop in Spring and Summer to your other garden choices.
This phlox is a very old variety.  I received it from my mother-in-law.  It is probably from the 1940's or 50's. It opens next in my garden.  

Love the colour of this 'Starfire' phlox.  It has the added feature of emerging in Spring with a wonderful red hue to the leaves and then going green as Summer progresses.

This white phlox is has a almost indicernible pink star in the centre.  I gets badly mildewed as the season progresses.  But for now it is beautiful!