One of the backbone plants in the perennial garden is the mid to late summer tall Phlox paniculata or tall garden Phlox. One of the newest varieties to get to your local garden centre is ‘Goldmine’. Aptly named because it will bring a rush of visitors to your garden with its bright magenta purple flowers held firmly above green and gold variegated leaves. Two older variegated forms, ‘Harlequin’ with its magenta blooms and cream yellow variegated leaves should be easily available while ‘Becky Towe’ with rose pink flowers over yellow and green leaves is equally desirable. The older variegated ‘Norah Leigh’ with its green and cream splashed leaves is an excellent foliage plant but those pale pink blooms wash out against the dramatic foliage.
If you are looking for a shorter phlox, you might want to search out ‘Little Laura’. The stunning rich violet purple blooms with white eyes are wonderful accents to any brighter colour in your perennial garden. At twenty-four inches tall, this plant will also serve as the focal centerpiece in any large perennial container. Keeping with our female names and short plants, let me suggest ‘Juliet’ for your new plant list. Again, she’s twenty-four inches tall with compact growth but with the softest pink flowers you can imagine. With some mildew resistance built into the breeding, this is an excellent mid-summer bloomer for both garden and large container. And speaking of mildew resistant phlox, let me suggest you look for these three mildew-resistant stunning ladies of the midnight garden: ‘Miss Pepper’ is a soft-pink with rose eye growing to three feet tall while ‘Miss Elie’ is taller at forty inches and sports soft pink blossoms with a deep rose eye. Rounding out the misses is ‘Miss Kelly’ and her soft lilac blooms are edged in dainty white.
Install these plants in the full sun in well-drained soils. They will take some late afternoon shade but you’ll get better disease control if they receive full early morning sun in a well-ventilated location to dry the leaves off early in the morning. Feed early in the fall with a shovel of compost.