Rock Garden Quarterly Summer 2012 - (Page 255)

Fire in the Hole : Phlox across Colorado CAroLine de vries PhotogrAPhs bY PAnAYoti keLAidis There is a flower – a mat of flowers really – with the ability to set mountain slopes ablaze in colorful abundance, a flower that transported English literary giant J.R.R. Tolkien to gardens of his youth “trimmed with box… filled with favourite flowers, with phlox.” Although it is probable that Tolkien was contemplating an English cottage garden featuring Phlox paniculata rather than a rock garden, the conflagrant genus adds the “jewel box” aesthetic strived for by almost all rock gardeners, its leaves providing the delicate lacework that cradles the vibrant five-petaled jewels. As an intern at the Denver Botanic Gardens, I was asked by Panayoti Kelaidis to write a status report on Phlox grown at the Gardens. Soon afterwards I became infatuated with the fiery floret-smothered cushions. According to James Locklear's recent book, to which I'm much indebted throughout, the name "phlox" is Greek for "flame," the name for the genus Phlox coined by Linnaeus from his Latin description “floris flammeo igneoque colore” which can be translated to “flowers the color of a glowing flame.” Fire in the hole! Meet the Colorado locals: Phlox andicola, P. austromontana, P. caryophylla, P. condensata, P. hoodii, P. kelseyi, P. longifolia, P. multiflora, P. muscoides (syn. P. bryoides), and P. pulvinata. Rocky Mountain growers are lucky to be able conveniently to include many of these ten gorgeous local Phlox species in their gardens. Unfortunately, for the rest of the nation these same species that grow wild in the Rockies can require the attentive care of specially created microclimates. Phlox andicola - plains phlox Botanist Thomas Nuttall first described P. andicola while traveling by foot on what is now known as the Oregon Trail. Originally found in flowing plains' habitats, P. andicola is undoubtedly the same phlox seen by the covered-wagon-traveling, petticoated pioneers in their quest of “manifest destiny.” It greets the passersby with a charmed “howdydo,” outfitted in lavender-hinted petal bonnets. It makes a lovely groundcover in the rock garden; however, take care as their settling nature is congruent with their rhizomatous tendency to spread quickly. Phlox hoodii Fire in the Hole: Phlox across Colorado 255

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rock Garden Quarterly Summer 2012

Digital Quarterly
Expanding Panayoti's Axioms
Photo Contest 2012
Photographing Alpine Plants: A Landscape Point of View
NARGS 2013 Election Timetable
Rock Gardening from Scratch - Seeds
Kim Blaxland and the Violets of North America
Viola pedata
Violas, Kim, and Us - A Celebration
Cooking Native Japanese Plants
Carl Gehenio Memorial Trough Show
Fire in the Hole: Phlox across Colorado
Rebuilding a Rock Garden in Pittsburgh
A Remarkable Garden: David Douglas and the Shrub-steppe of the Columbia Plateau
Bookshelf - Reviews
Swedish Dreams
Treasurer's Report
Bulletin Board
2012 - Eastern Study Weekend: October, Pittsburgh

Rock Garden Quarterly Summer 2012