Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Much of what happens in our gardens is a matter of luck rather than careful planning. In this case the unplanned combination of White Phlox and Cardinal Flower must be remembered and repeated. That both flower at the same time is what makes this special. There is a self planted small phlox that is easily movable and we must give some thought to its next location. It will be surrounded by Cardinal Flower plants.
Phlox come with some drawbacks. Deer are terribly fond of eating them. The plant in the picture is encased year round inside a wire cage. Deer trimming does not drop below the top of the cage so the white flowers are lower than they would be if the plant remained unmolested. As it is the height of the red and white flowers are very nearly the same. That could be seen as a plus.
Left alone, Cardinal Flower places all of its blossoms on a single stalk. Early pruning will result in a shorter but more numerous flower set. That action totally destroys the natural appearance of this native plant but so does placing it in a garden. We shall see what changes appear next year.
Anything looks good near a dry stone wall. Clara Curtis Chrysanthemums grow here like dandelions so this picture seems like cheating. Still this accidental staging will be repeated again and again.
Here is a bit of a puzzle. Cardinal Flower presents a low rosette of leaves each spring. As the flowering stalk grows the leaves near the ground disappear. They may grow on the climbing stalk but the end result is that the ground at the base of the stem is bare. This may be a plant from seed sending up flowers in its first year. Likely the stems should have been snipped off to encourage the growth of a healthy rosette. I cannot see myself doing that at this stage of the game. The others are ending their flower production while this plant is just starting. This plant is on the inside of the stone wall opening shown in the mum photo. With this written reference, we may remember both the plant and its location next spring.