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

Monday, April 6, 2009

Practically Perfect Pink Phlox

Is poised to open and begin her long reign as Princess of the Garden of Benign Neglect!

Isn't she lovely!

If you're new to C&L, you might not
be acquainted with PPPP!

The head gardener, that's me, tends to believe that
everyone has heard of Practically Perfect Pink Phlox!
Her official name is Phlox pilosa spp.
I call her the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox because she is practically perfect.

Each spring she blooms with abandon
throughout the Garden and
perfumes the air with a heady sweet scent.
It is so lovely,
I want to lie down in the grass and breath deeply.

Trust me~~she is lovely in full bloom
and the bloom lasts for a very long time, more than 6 weeks.

PPPP has been soaking up the rain for days ...
Waiting until the spring sun welcomed her,
before she blooms.
She may have to wait a little bit longer...
Winter is making a quick stop here on its way to
somewhere else...
I am sorry if it's to your garden...but
we want it to rush away quickly or not stop at all!

Here's what The Garden of Benign Neglect looked like last year
with Pink everywhere!

and today with the bush honeysuckle removed

I've added grasses, summer phlox, salvias and Gaura.

I can't wait to see to see what the garden looks like once PPPP blooms.
It's spread everywhere and it will all bloom.

I do have a few more plants that are going in!
Amsonia hubrichtii and Liatris squarrulosa.
More about them later~

I am so glad you stopped by to see the garden and visit with me for a while.
You've been a great guest and I've loved having you!

Columbine/Aquilegia canadensis

I hope you have time to take a look at the tulips before you go?
They've been lovely this spring and they will be gone by tomorrow.
The wind is very strong and more rain and hail are forecast!

You need a sense of humor when you garden.

One of the Costco Tulips

Species T bakeri 'Lilac Wonder'~~the first species tulip I ever planted and still a favorite.

Tulipa 'Queen of the Night'

Tulipa 'Costo Pink'

and finally,
Another of the species tulips T humilis

I hope you have time in your garden today and that you are filled with contentment.



  1. Good morning Gail,
    I think your pink phlox is really nice, the thing that sends it over the top is that it is fragrant!! What a bonus! I planted an Amsonia hubrechtii last year, I just check it this weekend and it is just starting to peak up out of the ground! I can't wait for it to shine!
    Your garden looks wonderful, the honeysuckle bush gone really opens it up.

  2. Good morning GIRL !!
    Can you believe I'm in here so soon ? .. I may need another coffee to get over the shock myself ..
    You have me very curious to know how PPP would do in my garden .. I wonder what it smells like ? .. I am considering it seriously .. if I can free up more space .. if I can ever get back in my garden ?
    No moves on the deck yet .. even if they have the permit now the weather stops them .. BIG sigh !
    I remember seeing Queen of the Night when I was a kid .. I LOVED it : )
    All you flowers are such pretty girls .. there must be a lot of POSITIVE vibes in your garden !

  3. Joy,

    Good Morning my dear! I am glad you are here ...no matter if you are the early bird or a night owl! You can grow it in your garden! The map shows it all over the eastern half of Canada including those wonderful Great Lakes! It's a lovely plant, really wonderful. I hope you can find it...try a native plant nursery that can ship to Canada! I would send you some but can I don't think we can get it past customs! Have a good day! Gail

  4. It's very pretty indeed. I think mine is doing great. I had left it in the pot and it is showing new growth. Finally I planted it out this week. Can't wait until it fills in like yours. I will for sure think PPPP and Gail:)

  5. Janet, Good morning...the sweet fragrance of PPPP is a delight and on a warm day there is nothing like it wafting over to you. I love all the amsonias, but the Amsonia hubrechtii is really a delight! Have a good day! gail

  6. Tina, I am glad that it perked up and is ready to go...It will, too. Just let it travel around. If it gets too ahead of itself...just move it...The roots are shallow!
    Perhaps I need to look for that one plant with the best characteristics, propagate it and name it PPPP! I hope you had a good Spring Break!


  7. Gail -- such a lovely phlox! The Musician and I were taken away with the fragrance of mass plantings that we saw this weekend.

    We spent our weekend outdoors working here and walking through two of our favorite local gardens, Coker Arboretum and the NC Botanical Gardens. It's nice to have free public gardens!

    Rainy again today. Cold tomorrow, then we'll be back to spring.


  8. Cameron,

    Mass plantings of any plant with good fragrance is wonderful! When I first planted PP I had no idea it would spread so delightfully....but the fragrance was so wonderful I decided never to restrain it! Your trips, walks and garden adventures with The Musician always sound perfect. Hope that you get to garden "real soon"!

  9. Gosh Gail, I won't be getting in the garden today. It is supposed to snow! It will be an April first for me if it does. We usually get a good snow in March but never April. Geez. Ole Man Winter doesn't want to give it up this year.

    Your PPPP is gorgeous. I wish she would come to live in my garden. I do have a pink phlox that sounds similar but not the same. It blooms much later.

    The wild columbine in my garden is just now forming its blooms. I can't wait. When they bloom the hummers are sure to be around. Cheers, Lisa

  10. Gail I am so glad PPPP is about to bloom, the pictures of it from last year were so lovely.

    I love Queen of the Night -- such a rich dark purple.

    We are in for a rude shock, aren't we. Yesterday I was thinking, who cares about seasons, I wish it was 72 degrees every day!

    I don't know if PPPP will bloom in my garden this year, but when she does she is sure to reign as a supreme beauty.

  11. Good evening, Gail. You're such a wonderful host. Now, can I lie down in your garden for sometime? Let me sink in your PPPP's lovely fragrance.
    [taking in a deep breath] Last summer PPPP's looked lovely and I wish this summer it'd be better.
    Did you ask if I have time? I'd love to stay back here and you'd have to push me outta your gate. Careful with such beautiful photos, 'coz I might not leave your garden so soon.
    Who'd what to part with that Queen of the Night?

  12. we were at my parents house last night when I looked in the backyard at the fence and saw these pink-purple flowers. It was a long way off so I went over and found what appears to be a phlox growing wild and free! Beautiful plants. The one you gave us last year is coming up very nicely!

  13. Hey, BTW, somehow reading your post, I realized that you might want to try the Flax. Those cute blooms with yellow stamens would definitely make a lovely addition to your lovely garden.

  14. Good morning Gail, I think you named your Phlox perfectly. She is a perfect specimen & I can't believe she's getting ready to bloom already. :) Your tulips are lovely, I really need to add some of the species to my own garden.

  15. Your garden and tulips look gorgeous, Gail! Fortunately, my tulips are just now coming into bud, or they'd have gotten a thrashing, too! I have species Phlox paniculata here (inherited it with the property) and it cheers me up when it blooms, sort of echoing the earlier dame's rocket and honesty.

  16. Gail, you have a lot of practically perfect pink plants in your garden. We're expecting another freeze tonight, and then it is smooth sailing from here I hope.~~Dee

  17. EAL, Thank you! You could be right about the tulip. Although, the bag did say Queen of The Night; it was from a Big Box Store and they are often mislabeled. gail

  18. Dee, I hope so...we are ready for an end to winter once and for all! Yes, there is a just a little bit of pink here...a six year old girl would be in heaven, I know I am! gail

  19. Sweet Bay, It might flower in your garden...It could surprise you! I am looking forward to the full show here...let's hope this freeze doesn't get to PPPP. It hasn't before, it is a wildflower! I hope your day is delicious! gail

  20. No gardening for me today. Woke up to another dusting of snow this morning. That makes me enjoy your blooms all the more. Love the phlox! And the tulips!

  21. OFB,

    Did you know there is a variegated form of Honesty plant? I just read about it this morning. I love phlox and I think you need PPPP..we must arrange for that to happen!


  22. Dave, That is exciting news...I've noticed that P divaricata is popping up on the roads and wooded edges all over this part of the county...maybe that's it...Also, there is a Glade phlox...maybe they have that variety.
    Glad to hear that PPPP survived...I hope she blooms for you! Gail

  23. Lovely pinks, Gail. So soft and spring-like. The pinks in my garden tend to be hotter and look more appropriate for summer. Yours are well suited to this time of year.

  24. Yippiee for PPPP! It's such a great little trooper. I see that you've determined that dark purple Tulip is 'Queen of the Night.' I used to grow that, it was one of my favorites. 'Costco Pink' makes a good companion for it. No fun in the garden for me today, it's under a couple of inches of snow.

  25. Marnie, Sorry about the snow...it was forecast for here, too! Yikes, we are ready for winter to go away! I tried to see if PPPP will grow in your part of Illinois and I think it will, but it's not endemic! We must get you a bit of it~ gail

  26. My PPPP is still in the pot, awaiting planting. I need to pick it up and see if it's as fragrant as yours! Thank you for that picture of the Lilac Wonder tulip: I finally spotted one bud on mine this weekend. It's the first year I've planted them and I do hope they'll naturalize as described.

  27. I wish I could just look over the fence and see your garden. The tulips are so beautiful! Almost bought a bunch of organic tulips at the farmer's market yesterday, can't grow them here, not enough frost. But already had a 50ft garden hose, 10 pounds of oranges, and a few other things on the bike so it seemed prudent to leave them be. Wonderful to see the photos, though!

  28. That Lilac Wonder tulip is practically perfect, too! What a pretty bloom...so Eastery. Yes, your PPPP's are preactically perfect posies. So pretty, Gail -- I hope the snowfall drifts right on by...

  29. Just beautiful Gail! I now know to go back to Lowes and buy the Phlox that I picked up and put down several times this past Saturday! I hate it when I doubt myself.........

  30. Hi Gail, what a beauty she is! I had never heard of her until reading your post(s) about her charms last year. The plant in my garden that I thought you had given me is definitely not her though. It shore would look good in my garden too. :-) Hint hint.
    The wind is howling and temp dropping, but no precip as yet. Batten down the hatches. I have the garbage can upside down on the camellia and bleeding heart. Hope you are ready too. We can't cover it all and must hope for leniency from Mr. Frost.

  31. Oh Gail, you torture me with this plant. I must have it! It's too early to haunt the garden centers, and how will I know that I have just the right one? Do you happen to know which online nursery carries it?

  32. Dear Gail....I love the sound of the perfectly pink phlox..... wonderful plant....I wonder if naughty bunnies would eat them?? I would like to plant some here.....

    Your tulips are stunning.....mine have suffered a little this year, some creature has been munching on them. I know it is not rabbits, because they do not like them. I still have a few waiting to burst open, I hope they make it....

    Hope the weather whistles by you and onto the next area......

  33. Frances, Do you want me to send it to you...I am mailing a bit to Dee...I was going to today, but the weather and clients have gotten in the way! I was so sure you had some from last summer.

    I am going to try to save what I can, but we can't cover it all and as long as it's raining/sleeting I don't want to cover anything! This is really too late for a frost after so many too warm days! Even the Bur Oak is budded...usually it isn't! gail

  34. That bench nestled in your garden looks so inviting, I could really use it right about now and just admire your garden...

  35. Gail, look how the new garden is all coming together - gorgeous. Had a look on the net and it would seem that PPPP is native to many parts of Ontario - so I'm now on a quest - even have a perfect spot for it.

  36. dear gail let's hope for the best with the weather tonight. we always seem to be having wind here. i think we might be in a basin. i don't even know what all to try to cover but we will be out there covering some newer plants. i hate that you will lose your tulips.
    your perfect phlox is divine. i saw seed for it. we had a phlox in fl that grew like wildflowers. we would stop by meadows of it and the kids would pick big bunches.

  37. I love PPPP--but with the long blooms and fragrance, what makes her only practically perfect?! Also, hooray for honeysuckle removal!

  38. oh Gail, so sorry about the frost, hail and heavy rain. Don't send it west tho! Your garden is looking fab. I can't believe how much you've planted in the Garden of Benign Neglect. It's changed dramatically. Of course I've heard you talk about PPPP many times. I should have some in my garden by now ~ what's holding me up?!!! Beautiful spring photos. I'm enjoying your tulips so much ~ none of mine have opened yet but I'm glad. The snow would not have been kind to them!

  39. I've made a note of the Phlox - a long flowering period and fragrance - sounds perfect!

  40. I didn't get to spend much time in the garden today. After work I had to rush out and cover plants. Mr. Winter is stopping by for a visit tonight and tomorrow night too! I hope it is his last visit for a long while.

    I'm excited to have a garden phlox this year. Don't have the slightest idea of the color. It will be a lovely surprise.

  41. Spring is such a tease leaving me longing for those balmy days. How did you keep the squirrels from eating your tulips. I have though planting them much deeper might help.

  42. I am happy to discover that PPPP is hardy in my area, and I also covet that hellebore and your dancing trillum. And you're right, you certainly do need a sense of humor to garden.

  43. Love your tulip pictures, especially the species ones. Mine finally opened up, but it's always closed by the time I get home in the evening. Boo! Should have gotten a shot of it this weekend when I had a chance. Pretty pictures. :)

  44. Gorgeous! I don't know if we could do phlox down here, but for PPPP, I'd be willing to try!

  45. Hi Gail,
    I can't believe that PPPP is blooming already! I noticed that our Paniculata was coming up already a few weeks ago, but it always waits until high summer to bloom.

    I want that Trillium cuneatum that you have posted!!! We've been trying to find one of the red rubins locally with no luck. Last I checked (Friday) our Trilliums are still hiding out underground, along with the Jack in the Pulpits.

    Your tulips are spectacular! I've been enjoying them vicariously and if you can wait long enough (a few more weeks?) you can hopefully enjoy ours vicariously! I noticed another couple of hyacinths poking up the other day and the daffs are popping up all over! Snow, snow, cold, go away! Bring us more sunny days! :-)

  46. I see you are basking in the warmth of the spring sun while we are still in the cold drizzle here so thank you for the uplifting pictures and post. I need to see if PPPP will grow for me here. What do you think? I think it would look lovely in the woodland garden.

  47. Layanee, Good morning! So sorry you have that dreary NE spring, but not much longer! PPPP loves Eastern Canada, so it will grow for you my dear and happily! It travels a little so be aware of that! I will be digging it up today! Gail

  48. You are asking me, a Dutch person, if I have time to look at your tulips? You're joking, right? LOL

    Of all the tulips I love the botanical or species tulips best.

    Love that overview of your garden; it all looks so very spring-y. And guess what, yesterday I bought a pink Phlox . We're having Phlox on the brain, do you think it's contagious?

  49. YE, It is a pink time! You need more phlox...especially this smaller one that's wants to be a ground cover, well, in the right conditions!

    I think I prefer the species tulips myself...Tulips in a vase are just about perfect and easy to get from the grocery store or any florist! Thank you! You've help me decide to just plant species! I laughed out loud when I saw your post title..I thought it said growl!


  50. Fantastic Gail..PPPP is you! When I hear that said--my thoughts go right to Clay and Limestone gardens. Those bulbs are just as perfect. Stay warm my friend. I had to switch the AC to heat--errrrr.

  51. My great-grandmother loved phlox. It is the one flower I clearly remember her planting. Hopefully, spring is here. We had a freeze last night ourselves.

  52. Your garden fills me with happiness, Gail. I was especially tickled to see the species tulips, but all the blossoms are wonderful. Is the phlox as fragrant as the wild blue species is?
    I'm slowly gaining ground but it's still not spring quite yet.

  53. Jodi,

    It is wonderfully fragrant and it loves Canada so you ought to be able to grow it! I think it is actually a sweeter scent then the phlox divaricata! You make me smile with your sweet compliments. We are in the middle of spring and loving every second of it...because early summer temperatures arrives here in May!


  54. What a wonderfully exuberant Phlox! No wonder that's she's the Princess of the Garden of Benign Neglect.

    Even though the range maps show that it's around here, it's not a species that my gardening companion and I have seen (probably because it likes your limestone!)

    Lovely post!


  55. Tee hee - I was wondering when PPPP might make an appearance. I think we should have had a sweepstakes on the date, it would have been fun!

    I like the changes you've made to the Garden of Benign Neglect - no doubt you'll be showing us much more as the season progresses.

    Have a great Wednesday - it's a lovely day here in England after overnight rain. How perfect is that for getting out in the garden and getting going? :D

  56. Hi Gail,
    I'm always 'late' to the party!
    Wonderful blooms you have there! I have 3 different shades of pink phlox, and every year they spread just a little bit more. This year they seem to be spreading about the gardens in little pairs of two's or even threes--here, there & everywhere! I could dig those up and place them in other garden areas (& I still might) but right now I just enjoy seeing how far they'll spread! The deer have already been munching on them. Those darn deer~!!

    I don't know why your phlox are 'practically perfect'. Why? Is there a down side??!! Mine are perfect, I'd say. They bloom non-stop and really have added color to my gardens most of the summer. They get direct sunlight and bake all summer, without a wimper!

    Even though the GOBN 'sounds' like it must be this dreadfully desolate dried out field...it really does do very well on its own and will just be perfect as it's neglected all summer! That's what I like about some gardens. They do their own thing and don't need a lot of attention & still look pretty! Now that your honeysuckle is gone, the 'good' stuff is gonna spread even further:-)

  57. PPPP is as lovely as I remember it from last year Gail - looking forward to seeing it in full bloom. Love the tulips. I'm partial to the species too. I've given up on tulips since the resident bunnies pop their heads off just as the buds start to open. I do love seeing them in other gardens though, and wonder how they manage to bloom without becoming bunny food.

    We're still waiting for spring - there's still a little snow on the ground. Nice and sunny out today, but 29 degrees is rather chilly.

  58. PPPP is positively charming :)
    My plentious pink phlox won't be blooming for donkey's ages, so I'll enjoy yours while they grace the GOBN.
    Your tulips are a delight. I especially love the Costco pink. What a scrumptious shade! But truly, it's impossible to choose a favorite. They're all gorgeous.
    Happy Easter dear Gail!

  59. I enjoyed reading about PPPP, and looking at your photos. Now that our things are greening up so nicely, and some things are blooming, I can look at your flowers, knowing mine will be joining them soon.


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson