Welcome to the ceaseless torture of adulthood! We're glad you made it!
home | index by time | index by subject
previous let the piper lead the way next 

spilled mad dog wine
august 09, 2001

variegated phlox seedling

Up on the hillside is the White Garden. You have to walk up the steep grassy path along the woods to get there, past the Victorian Gardens and the Rockery. It's a kind of sorbet after all the rich colors. It's the last garden before you get to the meadow and must wade through the tall grasses.

Two cultivars of Phlox paniculata grow in the White Garden: the medium-sized 'Miss Lingard' and the statuesque 'David'. In August they billow like cumulus clouds in the jostly late-summer breezes above the white cone flowers and alliums.

Honeybees and bumblebees travel among the phloxes, pollinating the snowy ones with every other phlox on the land, as well as the ones in the nearby woods. variegated phlox seedling
variegated phlox seedling
The results are these splashy things, ranging in variegation from a shy scattering of pink droplets to bold splatters dribbling from stamen to petal's edge.

Every year around this time I give out the Plant of the Year Award. Until now, the quiet ceremony has gone on only inside my head. This year's award goes to these stripey phloxes.

Suppose for a minute that they turned out to be a registerable cultivar. What shall we call it? 'Spilled Mad Dog Wine'? 'Serial Killer'? 'Poop Stripe'?

'Hangover Eyeballs'???

Photo: variegated phloxes
Note: Phlox paniculata syn. decussata is native to North America. It was introduced to Europe and Britain in about 1730. Commonly known as "tall garden phlox," it begins blooming in mid- to late July and is sometimes confused with the four-petaled Hesperis matronalis, which blooms two to three months earlier. Garden writer Elsa Bakalar describes the white cultivar 'Miss Lingard' as looking like "dollops of mashed potatoes." I just don't see that.

previous let the piper lead the way next
index by time let the piper lead the way index by subject
marel trout let the piper lead the way the ceaseless torture of adulthood let the piper lead the way you are here