Gardener's Notebook - Iron Gardener event cancelled

Here’s the latest news from the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society.  Our May meeting on May 20 has been cancelled, and we know everyone is disappointed because it was our “Iron Gardener” event, always fun to see what three talented gardeners can plant up in twenty minutes with surprise planter “ingredients”!    So please remember, the May 20 meeting is cancelled.  Also, our Spring Plant and Bulb Sale that was scheduled for Friday, May 22 is cancelled.  We’re sorry to disappoint our valued plant customers who come to support us every year; we thank you for your past support and let’s hope that perhaps our fall plant sale might be able to go ahead.  Visit our website at www.yorktonhort.ca and rest assured that we will keep you informed about what is happening with the group.

A dear friend was telling us about perennial phlox that he bought for his garden.  Phlox is one of those beautiful, standard garden perennials that we sometimes forget about because it is such a consistently tried-and-true specimen.  But when I started thinking about the phlox that Sweet Pea had in her garden, and the phlox that some of my aunties used to have in theirs, I realized that I wanted to learn more about it.  So here goes!

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First of all, did you know that there are two kinds of perennial phlox?  There is the low, creeping, rock-garden variety forming  carpet of bright pink flowers in the spring,  called phlox subulata, and then there is the upright phlox, growing to about two or three feet high, called phlox paniculata.

Both kinds of phlox are cheery, easy-going perennials.  They both like full sun, well-drained soil, and moderate moisture.  They are not prone to pests, although the upright phlox could get mildew if the summer is particularly humid.  If we were planting phlox plants in our garden, we should plant the upright variety about eighteen inches apart, and the creeping variety about twenty four inches apart.  This might seem like a lot of bare ground between plants at first, but don’t worry, they will fill in!  

The only other care we need to tend to is to deadhead.  The upright phlox will benefit from deadheading, because it will put energy into revitalizing the plant, rather than into spent flowers.  And while the creeping phlox can be like an impressive silk carpet of lush blooms in the spring, later on we’ll want to deadhead the blooms which will become brown and dry stems, just to keep the plants looking snappy and tidy.

Phlox are great friends with bees and butterflies, so they make a welcome addition to our gardens for more than just the floral show that they gift us with each year: they will attract bees and other pollinators.  And the colors are truly eye-catching.  I remember that Sweet Pea had a white phlox, as well as a heavenly blue-mauve, and they were just so pretty!

So if we’re looking for a new perennial for our gardens, let’s look to a much-loved garden favorite: perennial phlox!

Perhaps you have planted some things already, or are getting ready to begin in the coming days.  Good for you!  This year especially it is important for us all to get outside, do some gardening, connect with nature again after a stressful time, and focus on something that ignites and inspires us: our gardens!  Once we get outside and start puttering around in the garden, isn’t it wondrous how stress seems to drain away!

Thank you to our friends at Yorkton This Week, you are all amazing!  Let’s pray for health for all and brighter times ahead!  Have a great week!

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