Saturday, July 19, 2008

Things are Getting Rather Phloxy Here

I have to admit I've never been much of a fan of Phlox, especially the creeping variety that turns into a painful stickery mat after blooming ... but I've been much more open to the upright varieties ... it was just the color that mattered to me. Well, it now appears that we have a major Phlox infestation going on in that savage back corner bed, where it has spread all throughout. The original plant that started this all came from the same friend who gave (cursed?) us the Lysimachia profiled earlier this week, and it has definitely self-seeded and multiplied freely. The original plant we got (which is just starting to bloom) is the more magenta colored variety though this pink that's showing up in droves is quite pretty, I have to say. I really don't know a lot about Phlox, so I've got some research to do, but I expect Gail and other gardeners can help out a bit on the phlox lore, since without researching it, I have no clue what this species is....

As I was desperately rescuing the Blue River and Kopper King hibiscus from bindweed last night, I caught a whiff of a delightful fragrance coming my way, looked over into the back bed and lo and behold, it's finally starting to bloom! Though it's really out of control in there (we're going to either move or thin a bunch of it), we're on board to let it duke it out with the Monarda for squatters' rights. And since we have so much of it now, I wouldn't even be adverse to cutting some to bring inside (a right usually given only to a few flowers such as Peonies and Zinnias). I doubt it can rival the lusciousness of Peonies, but it sure does smell good....

Lots of work in store for the garden this weekend, more incessant weeding, and the planting of the final few perennials we've been slacking on due to the brutal weather of late. At least we got some decent storms last night that dropped about 2.5 in of rain overnight, which was a welcome relief. When I was out last night, even the Monarda was looking wilted, and the Ligularias were looking thirsty too. But the corn and tomatoes have been loving this hot/humid blast of late, so maybe I'll get some shots of them this weekend, and the corn is about 4 ft tall now ... the castors are up and growing fast and the other plants we got in recently are looking much happier now. I've got tomatoes set on already and getting bigger, so it's down to the who will be the first to eat waiting game now....

I hope everyone has time to get out and get dirty in the garden this weekend! I may be a muddy (but satisfied) mess tomorrow night if it doesn't get too hot and humid tomorrow!

Just an aside ... I'm still thinking about The Fall, which I reviewed earlier this week. In the comments on that post, Annie in Austin kindly provided a link to Tarsem's earlier work in music video, namely REM's Losing My Religion. Youtube was acting up when I tried to view it earlier, but from what I was able to see, it's pretty much classic Tarsem as I know him so far.


Gail said...

You've been busy posting and I am way behind...

From what I can gather Phlox maculata and maniculata differ on a few is something I found that makes me think I want to try this one, too!

Maniculata~~Common Name: Meadow Phlox Mauve-pink flower heads on top of sturdy stems with thick, glossy leaves. The stems are somewhat hairy and sometimes have red mottling. Meadow Phlox blooms earlier than Tall Phlox (Phlox paniculata), has darker green leaves and better mildew resistance. Flowers are fragrant and attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

The leaf patterns of paniculata are said to have a veining pattern unique to it The veins branch off the center vein the curve toward the tip of the leaf near the edge and connect with the next vein forming what appears to be a vein along the edge of the leaf. Having gone outside to look I can tell you that it does indeed have this unique leaf pattern.

I do know that subsequent generations of reseeded Phlox paniculata can have many variations of pink....but magenta does have a tendency to be dominant.

Hope this helps!

It looks like a fine phlox and would be beautiful as a cut flower!


Shady Gardener said...

Isn't there a beautiful contrast between the phlox and the mondarda! :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail,
Thanks for the info on Phlox! As I said, I'm not really very informed on this plant, so that helps enormously! I take it from what you said that we must have paniculata because the leaves are not thick and glossy, rather, they're "flat"... I'll try to get out to check out the leaf veining at some point, but we're having another scorcher here today with 90 at present with 73 as the dew point, positively tropical (heat index is nearing 100). Thanks also for the tip on the coloring, because we hope the Magenta color predominates! The pink is pretty, but I love the deeper color ...

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Shady,
It is making a very nice contrast with the Monarda, you're right! Given how wild this corner is right now, it's nice to see that it at least looks somewhat intentional, lol.

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