For myriad problem spots in yard and garden, phlox has got you covered.


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What can I tell you about phlox that you don’t already know? That they stand from 20 to 40 inches high, with great panicles of flowers, each a cluster of exquisite individual pips, come in glorious colors, some solid, others with an engaging center “eye” in a contrasting shade, that their decorative foliage ranges from gray-green to emerald, that their fragrance is delicious—in brief, that they are the glory of the midsummer garden. And some brighten the fall garden, too. At least two varieties, World Peace, a pure white, and Fall Days, a warm rose, start to bloom in late August or early September and continue to do so till hard frost.

It’s in mid-July that phlox make the biggest splash of color. But some begin blossoming earlier. Starfire, a brilliant red, starts bloom in late June. So does Fairy’s Petticoat, a delicate pink with a darker pink eye—altogether an enchantress, even to having an unusually long period of bloom. Other lovelies include Fairest One, a pale salmon-pink variety with a red eye surrounded by a heavenly white halo (rather dwarf for me and handy for the front of the border), Blue Lagoon with giant heads of lavender-blue, also very long-lasting, and Dodo Hanbury Forbes, a veritable marvel with huge flower heads 16 inches across, in clear, singing pink.

For rhythmic effect, I repeat the same colors several times in the border: a group of three pale pink, then, 4 feet along, a group of deeper pink, then 4 feet or so later, a lavender-blue, then a cluster of white, and then the whole shooting match all over again. You’re safe alternating colors, for almost all phlox go well together. But you can heighten the overall effect by leaving space between them to set them off.


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