All About Gardening and Gardening Q & A by Pernell Gerver

Bookmark this page or add it to your favorites now!
(Reload or refresh each time you visit to get the current week's columns.)

 Tell a friend about Pernell Gerver's Official Web Site 

"The Best Summer Phlox"

Summer in the perennial garden means flowers - lots of flowers. A perennial that provides an abundance of flowers over a long season of bloom and in a wide range of colors is summer phlox.

Tall garden phlox is prized for its large panicles of colorful, and often fragrant, blooms. The flowers begin blooming in midsummer and continue right into autumn, providing a very long season of bloom. For even more blooms, remove faded flowers. Cut the flower panicle just below the bottom flowers and side shoots will develop below the original flower panicle, providing another flush of bloom.

Flower color is extensive in summer phlox and includes white, lavender, purple, lilac, pink, rose, and neon pink. Many varieties have contrasting centers, called an "eye," creating a striking, two-tone appearance. In darker-colored varieties, the eye is often white. In white and lighter-colored varieties the eye is often a contrasting, darker color.



"The Best Summer Phlox" Workshop and Plant and Gardening Products Sale


Thursday, August 2, 7 p.m., Kiley Middle School auditorium, 180 Cooley Street, Springfield

Saturday, August 4, 10 a.m., Westfield Woman's Club auditorium, 28 Court Street, Westfield

Saturday, August 4, 3 p.m., Historic Northampton Museum Shepherd Barn, behind 66 Bridge Street, Northampton


Free and open to the public

For more info.:

Click here to read Pernell Gerver's Gardening Workshop Series schedule and to get directions from your location to any of the locations listed above.

Tall garden phlox range in size from just over a foot tall to five feet tall, depending on variety. With such a large range of plant sizes, it's possible to grow tall garden phlox in just about any size garden. The shorter varieties can be grown near the front of the flower bed or border, while the taller varieties look best in the middle to back of the flower bed or border.

There are many different varieties of tall garden phlox and one of my favorites is 'Nora Leigh.' This tall garden phlox bears large clusters of white flowers with a deep pink eye. In addition to its beautiful flowers, it also has attractive foliage. Its medium-green leaves are edged with a band of creamy yellow. Its variegated foliage adds interest to the garden even when it's not in bloom. Its foot-tall flower panicles bloom atop three-foot-tall flower stalks and bloom from midsummer to late summer. This variety also grows and blooms well in shade. In my garden it's growing in quite a bit of shade and it blooms as well as other varieties I grow in full sun.

One of the best white-flowered varieties of tall garden phlox is 'David.' It bears very-large panicles of glistening-white, sweetly-fragrant flowers. The large flower panicles stand atop four- to five-foot tall stems, making it a good choice for the middle to back of the flower bed or border.

At my free gardening workshop this week I’ll have a large selection of different summer phlox for sale. See the "If You Go" box for more information.

Pernell Gerver's Gardening Q & Aby Pernell Gerver

"Diatomaceous Earth Controls Onion Maggots"

Q. I have planted yellow onion sets for several years. They seem to do great, then a small maggot starts to feed on the bulbs. What shall I do? I'll try what you suggest next year - they are done for this year.

A. Onion maggots are the most serious pest of onions. Early plantings of onions are most severely affected. Bulbs planted close together allow the maggots to spread easily throughout the entire planting. Onion maggots overwinter in plant debris and soil so clean up and discard all dead leaves and onions at the end of the season. Plant the onions in a different part of the garden next year. Applying diatomaceous earth to the base of the plants will help prevent the adult from laying her eggs. Made from diatoms, ancient, microscopic sea creatures, this organic powder is effective on a wide range of soft-bodied crawling and soil insects. The insects come in contact with or ingest the powder and die.

Click here to read more about and order Diatomaceous Earth from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

Click here to submit gardening questions for Pernell Gerver's online Q & A column.

Click here to read previous online columns in the archives.

Pernell Gerver's Home page Pernell Gerver's Gardening Workshop Series Biographical profile - Pernell Gerver Pernell Gerver's Online Store Sign the guestbook
Mailing list Pernell Gerver's Plant of the Month Gardening questions for Pernell Gerver Professional inquiries for Pernell Gerver Contact Pernell

© Copyright Pernell Gerver, Horticultural Communication Services All rights reserved.