Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Practically Perfect Pink Phlox Move Over....

Laura is here!
Laura ~~Plox paniculata 

She is giving you a run for the title of Practically Perfect Phlox!

"How could that be?"

Here's how!  She is still blooming after some very cold weather! I mean really cold weather! The other night it was 19F and we've had freezes every night since.  She's a little frosted, but look at her bloom!   She received no special attention or protection!

"That is a fantastic plant!" 

I agree!  She is amazing. 

"Where did you find her?" 

Laura was an impulse purchase!   
 
Laura two weeks ago

An end of the season sale at a big box store on my visit to Frances in late October.   At $2 per plant how could I resist!  Of course,  I didn't and  took home three plants!  I carefully planted two near the Mosaic Shed  in full sun and the other near the path to the front door in semi-shade.   Both were mulched well, watered and left alone.   

Admittedly, she was in bud when she went into the garden, but who could have expected the bloom to survive the icy arctic blast that arrived this weekend.

I certainly didn't!

But, here it she is on Sunday morning.
Blooming her head off!

Here's what I know about Laura!

A lovely flower, that is not quite purple, not quite violet, but best described as lavender

with a sweet contrasting eye!   Some might say she is just another lavender-rose or fuschia lavender flower, or heaven forbid, in that snide voice....magenta!  I like magenta. 

But, don't you think her contrasting eye would look good with P paniculata 'David' or purple coneflowers?  Or with any number of other perennials.

She is not a very tall phlox, topping out at about 3 foot, with sturdy stems, strong green coloring in the leaves and a sweet fragrance. Plant her in sun or semi-shade in the front of the border or toward the middle. Sources suggest she is both mildew resistant and mildew attractive!   To be on the safe side plant her were she will get good air circulation, in a moisture retentive soil. 

Then wait for the bees and butterflies to find her when she begins to bloom in  late summer and early fall.  

But wait a second...You didn't really think Laura could supplant Practically Perfect Pink Phlox in my affections?  

Never!

Have a delightful day!

Gail

Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold!

72 comments:

  1. I have one or two buds still left on my phlox. Both are somewhat protected by the privacy fence that surrounds our back yard. I hadn't ever grown phlox before but it's now one of my favorite plants. :)

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  2. Lythrum,

    It is hard to believe that they have survived the very cold weather! It's a great plant...you will love it in your garden! Gail

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  3. i haven't grown phlox here yet. we had it in fl but it looked different and grew wild. i would pass by and pick some and plant it in my yard and it would grow. lovely lavender plant!

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  4. Hi Gail,
    A very pretty Phlox indeed. To think she was not even settled completely before the cold winds tested her fortitude. She is a keeper... never a substitute for PPP (or is that supposed to have 4 P's?) but a very good bed fellow. Have a wonderful week, Gail, in case I don't get back over here. We are heading out of town tomorrow. I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving. In these days of thankfulness, I want you to know I am grateful for you!
    meems

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  5. That is a very lovely phlox - a great bloomer, obviously, and a gorgeous color to boot. :)

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  6. Gail, I couldn't believe that your PPPP might actually have gone down in the rankings! I'm glad to know it's still at the top of your list, but wow! a plant that is blooming in these cold temps? I don't blame you for sharing your affection with it.
    Of course, to be fair to PPPP, I think we should all wait to see how it does all year.

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  7. Hi Gail,
    Laura looks like a fine new addition to your phlox phamily! I'd say she must be a stalwart type to have endured such temps and is still blooming, having just been planted recently. Looks like a keeper!

    Our phlox is long gone and looking pretty crispy now, along with everything else except perhaps the sages ... just in time for Thanksgiving. Too bad I'm not doing a turkey this year (at least not now) because I love to use fresh sage from the garden. I got stuck with the salad for the family gathering this year, well, that and a cheeseball, lol.

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  8. Gail, you almost had me there. But in the end you stayed true blue to PPPP! Laura sounds great-mildew resistant. I had trouble with that this year. Keep a close eye on her next year and let us know how she does.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

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  9. Hi Gail, she is a beauty. 'Laura' nice name as well....isn't there a lovely music piece called Laura's theme? / Tyra

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  10. Laura is very pretty, I think - and if she's that hardy, I would like to invite her into my garden!
    Katarina

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  11. Good morning Gail, thanks for the link love! :-) Why or why did I not buy some of that while we were there???? It is amazing that it is still holding up so well too. You should write advertising copy with your glowing words. So glad PPPP didn't get too jealous. And the old girl scout ditty brought back very happy memories of my stint as girl scout leader. We did lots of singing of the oldies but goodies at our meetings, I still have the little songbooks. My new friend, I believe you could be classified as gold.
    Frances

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  12. Gail: I noticed late re-blooms on my 'Laura'. She is a beauty and I bought her because my niece is named Laura and it was a nice reminder of her. She may well supplant PPP as your favorite. Stay warm and cozy. Is your son due home for the holiday?

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  13. Lovely Laura! I added her to my garden last spring and have been pleased with her performance too Gail. Phlox were some of the first perennials I ever had, and I can't imagine ever being without them in the garden. I'm pleased they perform well even without much sun. Laura seems to do especially well in our mostly-shady garden.

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  14. That does it Gail! Now I have to add your lovely phlox to my must have list. I may as well add the practically perfect pink phlox too, what cultivar is it? Thanks!

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  15. MsRobin,

    PPPP is Phlox pilosa...species but Mr. McGregor's Daughter has one named Eco-Traveler that rivals but does not surpase PPPP...in my opinion but let's hear what she says!

    Glad you like them both and good morning!

    Gail

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  16. marmee,

    Have I got a plant for you! When we get together I will have a start of PPPP...unless the ground is frozen! Some place in archives is a post or two about Phlox pilosa...April probably! It blooms for months!

    Summer phlox is one of the stalwart plants for my garden....it is a huge butterfly magnet....You have to add it to your garden, it has a delightful cottage feel and would love it in Leiper's Fork!

    I am celebrating the rain! Let's hope it's just going to be rain!

    gail

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  17. NANCYB, It is a lovely little flower! A surprise, too, that it is still blooming! Good morning...has the snow stopped falling?

    PHILLIP, Morning Phillip! How is your day going? It's a lovely little phlox...

    Gail

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  18. Gail,
    I really love Phlox but everyone tells me not to plant it because it will get out of control. Next year, I may just try it anyway, it's such a pretty flower.-Randy

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  19. Rose,

    My thoughts exactly...she may succumb to the dreaded Mildew that loves our humid, hot rainless summers...but I just had to talk about PPPP one more time!

    gail

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  20. What a lucky find Gail. She sure is pretty even under these adverse conditions. Just think of how she will be next spring and summer.

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  21. IVG,,

    Then there will be more sage for other great recipes...Sage Butter; sage, butternut squash and cheese pizza...just to name a few!! I love that you got the salad and cheese ball!

    This has to be aberrant that a phlox is still alive with the weather we've had! I think I want to monitor those microclimates to see if I can push the zones a bit more! But the rub in all this talk is the Reality of the HOT, Rainless summers!

    Have a fantastic day and a good holiday!

    gail

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  22. Gail, My Robert needs to meet your Laura! :-)

    My phlox 'Robert Poore' is still blooming -- up against the stone chimney on the south side of the house. I've been scattering the seeds *everywhere* inside the cottage garden fence!

    Your Laura can work well with many companions. She has that "go with everything" color!

    Robert peeks out from behind Indian Hawthornes. That's my original planting.

    Robert also grows at the feet of the tree azaleas with 'Palace Purple' heuchera at the feet of the phlox. Robert volunteered to cozy up with the azaleas and heuchera--he knew a perfect grouping better than I.

    Robert also volunteered to add height and grouped with my perennial heliotrope and platycoden. Since he volunteered so well, I am scattering the seeds.

    I've sown the seeds with agastache 'Purple Haze' and echinacea 'Prairies Splendor', ruby loropetalum, and monarda 'Raspberry Wine'.

    Cameron

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  23. Beckie,

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, too! we are spending the day with friends...breakfast after a fundraising walk...then dinner someplace else. I hope you post about the family Thanksgiving you will have!

    You and Rose are on the same wavelength! Let's see what next summer brings!

    Have a great day!

    gail

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  24. I just love your little stories that go with your pictures! That is an outstanding plant.

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  25. Tyra,

    Hi there! There well could be...but I am not good about rmembering music title's. But movies I remember! There is a terrific movie from the foties...titled 'Laura' a good mystery! Have a good day...keep warm!

    gail

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  26. meems,

    My friend...I am so glad I wandered around and found Hoe and Shovel...not only have I met you but I get to meet your charming sister! Have a wonderful and safe holiday...see you when you return!

    Yes, she is a lovely phlox but she won't supplant PPPP!

    Gail

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  27. Hi Gail. She is just so grateful to you for rescuing her she is rewarding you with bloom;) I like the two color effect too.
    Marnie

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  28. Darla,

    Thanks I am very appreciative of your feedback...as a blogger we need to know if folks like what we write!

    She is a pretty plant! Have a lovely day and a good holiday!

    gail

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  29. Katarina,

    She would love your garden! I do hope that she lasts a bit longer and can survive our summers...I will keep everyone posted! Have a delicious week!

    gail

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  30. Marnie,

    Like a rescue dog or cat...she will be loyal to me! I like that Marnie! I hope she remembers this next summer! have a great day!

    Gail

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  31. Cameron,

    Let's fix them up! I suspicion they would make lovely offspring! I am going to borrow a page from your seed spreading and do that next year or if laura makes seeds this year...she could still be frosted out!

    Robert sounds perfect and I took a few moments to google his image...a very fine color!

    Thank you for the combination suggestions! They sound delightful!

    Have a good day and keep warm!

    gail

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  32. Frances,

    You were being a good girl and saving your pennies for something else! She is a delight, tho and since she will need to be divided to keep her healthy and mildew free...she can be generously shared with others.

    Do you suppose that readers now have the little girl scout song stuck in their heads? I hope not, but it is a great little memory stirrer!

    Of course you knew nothing would supplant PPPP! and I agree totally with you ...You are gold and a keeper friend!

    Warmest thoughts...I hope the rain gets over the mountain and falls on your garden!

    Gail

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  33. Randy,

    She's a cutie pie flower...out of control is a hallmark of Clay and Limestone! I will let you know if she seeds herself or grows too big!

    gail

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  34. Layanee,

    How nice to have a flower that shares a name with your niece! I looked for flowers named Bernice...to plant in honor of my mom...that is not a popular name!

    Laura is a good looking flower but PPPP has qualities she can't replace in my affections...but it was fun to write that as a title!

    Have a good day...brr, keep warm up there!

    gail

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  35. Lisa,

    I am crossing my fingers that she is able to survive our less then easy summers! Our summers are tough and a challenge to moisture lovers!

    have a great day...and a wonderful holiday.

    Gail

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  36. Gail I have to admit the only phlox I have are moss phlox .. I don't know what it is but I shy away from the taller variety .. deep seated fear of powdery mildew I think ? .. but I love seeing yours ! : )

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  37. Linda,

    Good morning! I am so glad to hear that you have had a good experience with Laura! She is a delightful phlox...so far! It sounds like she was mildew free in your garden and that is great news!

    Phlox was here when I moved in and I have since added more...I can't imagine gardening without them, either! They are reliable and bloom in the semi-shade and that is a great quality. Plus they are magnets for pollinators! We love the butterflies and bees!

    Thank you for letting me now about Laura in your garden, Linda! Have a great day!

    gail

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  38. Joy,

    Good morning...I have heard great things about David...it is supposed to be absolutely mildew free! Big white fragrant blooms that bring in the bees and butterflies! Also, I have been told by IVG (link above) that planting alliums at their feet will help with mildew!

    Have a wonderful day, my friend!

    Gail

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  39. No, of course she could NOT supplant PPPP! But nice nonetheless. Impulse on sale plants are best.

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  40. Tina,

    They are and it's a good thing because just the other day I bought 6 junipers to add to the back garden for winter interest!

    PPPP is safe!

    Gail

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  41. Gail - I'm a huge fan of phlox paniculata - they are the mainstay of my late summer garden. I also find if you discover a plant that looks great after a whole summer of being torchered at a big box store, you know it will be a winner in your garden. But blooming after that blast of cold - I'd say Laura has more than earned her place in your garden.

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  42. barabarapc,

    Phlox is a perfect mainstay plant! Many of us would be lost without it! You've given me something to hold on to...let's hope she does indeed prove to be mildew free! Have a great day!

    gail

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  43. Hi Gail.....I shall jot that down....that is a must have for next year.....I garden on clay and the soil is damp as the area is low lying....so she should do well here.......

    She is a pretty bloom.....and you mentioned the bees and butterflies.....that did it for me.

    Have a great week......and may your bloom last for another few days at least........

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  44. You've convinced me, I must try Laura next year. :)

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  45. I've had 'Laura' a long time now, growing in part shade. It does bloom a long time, longer than David, but it didn't bloom anywhere near as long as 'Nicky' did this year. I wonder if the difference could be due to its siting. 'Nicky' gets a lot more sun.

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  46. Laura is a keeper in my books! I have Robert Poore & he is still pushing out some stragglers too. What more could you ask from a perennial that has been blooming nonstop since the end of May!

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  47. I cannot believe this pretty is so full of color this time of year! What a bargain indeed!

    I will be signing out for a bit but will be back before you know it...
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family!

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  48. WOW ~ blooming after 19 degree lows??? There HAS to be magic happening at C&L. I think just to experiment, I should purchase said phlox and see if it repeats that kind of performance here next fall. Then we'll know for sure whether theres pixie dust in the air over your place or not! I'd love to have 'Lauras' blooms still going strong in my garden right now. I'd say she was most certainly a wonderful purchase and the price could not be beat!

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  49. Gail, This is a very pretty phlox! You'll have to watch it next year to see what she does. Wonder if she'll capture your heart and put the Practically Pink Phlox in second place? ;-)

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  50. Don't you love it when an impulse buy turns out to be a fantastic plant? I think that is a rare event.

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  51. If the lovely Laura is that happy even in sub-freezing temperatures, I have a feeling she'd be miserable (and then some) here on my corner of Katy! Ah, well, I shall covet her from afar!

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  52. Beautiful! And what a treat to have blooms in the garden at this time of year too!

    /krys

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  53. kd,

    It is...I went out to get the mail and I see she is still smiling over there in her spot in the sun! Have a great day! gail

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  54. Sarah,

    She is a lovely little thing! Now if she would grow indoors I would use her for my centerpiece!
    Gail

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  55. Cindy,

    One never knows...I think it's magic or the extreme micro-climate I have here! She might like Texas...it's magical, too!

    gail

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  56. Phillip,

    True, so true! I have a graveyard (compost) of unhappy in this garden plants! I hope she doesn't mind our summers! have a terrific holiday!

    gail

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  57. Shady,


    Never...PPPP is the perfect phlox...practically, that is! Laura is lovely, but....

    Let's see how she performs in the heat!

    gail

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  58. Kathleen,

    Doesn't she scream "I must be in Kathleen's Colorado garden"! I can hear her in here and there are two doors between me and Laura;-) She really surprised me and even the rain hasn't done her in...Maybe I better check and make sure she isn't silk!

    Have a wonderful day...and are you over the "bulb lust-fever"?

    Gail

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  59. cheryl,

    I hope she likes your garden...I know the bees and butterflies will like her!

    Gail

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  60. Skeeter,

    Have a wonderful time! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    We'll see you when you get back or online!

    Gail

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  61. MMD,

    I don't know that she will normally bloom for this long...but I do like her frost hardiness! Laura is planted in the sun in one spot and semi-shade in the other. Sunshine seems to be the magic and enough moisture!

    I keep hearing very nice things about Nicky and Robert Poore, so they may join the gang over here next spring!

    Gail

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  62. Racquel,

    That is so true...and Robert Poore sounds like a must get for the garden!
    He is a fine looking phlox!

    Gail

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  63. sweetbay.

    I am glad you like Laura...she will love your garden!

    Gail

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  64. You grow such beautiful phlox. I really should venture beyond the creeping phlox I grow over here. Even poor Laura would be very sad up here nowadays though with temps barely climbing above freezing for day time highs. I hope she holds out for you for a while.

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  65. cinj,

    It sounds like winter has settled in for the long haul! Will this mean that once snow starts falling that it will be there till spring?

    Next spring you might want to plant a phlox or two...your bees will thank you!

    Keep warm...have a great holiday!

    Gail

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  66. I thought you were off your rocker for a minute trying to change phloxes on us. I think I had Laura last year as I love phlox a lot too. I'll never know cause the folks who bought my old house have fenced it in--and I can't see:( all my plants anymore. Wish I could have gotten some for $2..what a steal!

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  67. Anna,

    I don't know which would be worse seeing the old garden or not!

    You know I wouldn't ever choose some other plant over PPPP! I am not fickle! But Laura is a fun plant and seems cold tolerant!

    Have a wonderful holiday with Mr D and the D jrs.

    Gail

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  68. I can see why you like it! Even if it didn't bloom in the cold weather it would be great addition to your garden. It probably would look good next to 'David'. $2 a plant is my kind of deal!

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  69. Dave,

    It was a good deal; your kind of deal!
    Have a great holiday.

    gail

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  70. I too have 'Laura', just planted late this summer, but I've not been as fortunate as you. Maybe next summer will be good though! Yours is really pretty!

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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