Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dark Green Thumb: Phlox Rox

Last weekend my family went to the U.S. Botanic Garden. It is a little oasis on the National Mall, a stone's throw from the Capitol, with gardens and an atrium. The gardens were in the in-between stage where early spring bloomers like tulips and daffodils were dying back and summer flowers hadn't opened up yet. But one plant was bridging the transition putting on its own show - Creeping Phlox.

Most of the year its a ground cover evergreen, but for a few weeks in the early spring it puts out small, star-like blooms in shades of pale pink, white and lavender. It's great for filling in areas of the garden and looks nice set against elegant, large-leaf plants like hosta. CP can handle some sun, but does better in part shade. I bought three plants two years ago, each the size of my open hand, and they've quadrupled in size. Once established they spread quickly, so give them room to grow.

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