It’s nearly time.
Each day I go outside and clear off more debris to give the Phlox divaricata, woodland phlox, a chance to breathe and absorb the sun’s rays.
It’s a heady time filled with birdsong and the scent of both daffodils and woodland phlox, a beautiful wildflower that should be grown in every garden. Also called wild blue phlox and wild sweet William, it is a gorgeous and ephemeral plant that spreads by seeds and roots. Some people think it takes over the shade garden, but I guess I don’t mind. I spread the seeds and move clumps about here and there for better coverage. As soon as it finishes blooming, P. divaricata blends back into the landscape unnoticed until next spring.
According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, woodland phlox is “[b]est grown in humusy, medium moisture, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers rich, moist, organic soils. Appreciates a light summer mulch which helps retain moisture and keep roots cool.”
In other words, it is a forest plant. Put shredded leaves or compost where you want it to spread, but don’t use Back to Nature cotton burr compost because it seems to inhibit seed growth. You’ll want this beauty to reseed. At least, I think you will.
Woodland phlox is native to the eastern U.S. and Canada. It is native to Oklahoma.
One more thing . . . woodland phlox comes in white, purple and blue. ‘May Breeze’ is a white selection introduced by Piet Oudolf from the Netherlands. For those who don’t know, Oudolf is the designer behind some of the world’s most beautiful naturalistic gardens like the High Line and the Lurie Garden in the U.S. The links are my visits to both gardens.
Ooh, this makes me want to take another trip, but not just yet. The garden calls.
As for woodland phlox, there are other selected cultivars, but I like blue ones best. I don’t need another white plant in my spring garden. I need one the color of the prairie sky on a sunny day.
‘Blue Moon’ is a selected blue variety of this phlox, and TLC Nursery on Memorial has several plants. I saw it the day before yesterday, and you can rarely find woodland phlox locally. I also put the word out on Instagram and Facebook, so you’re forewarned. Get there quickly and buy some for yourself. I may, in fact, run over to TLC today. I could use some in that shade garden we planted in front of the little garden shed.
This post is part of Wildflower Wednesday, hosted by Gail of Clay and Limestone. She’s my go-to-girl on native plants that like both Tennessee and Oklahoma. Head over to her blog for more.