Here come the phlox, looking fluffy and beautiful. To me, phlox = summer, echoing the puffy, cumulus clouds of a summer sky. I love my one-and-only phlox, a deep fuchsia pink variety I received as a trade at GardenWeb.com. I’ve had it for years now, and it has been totally mildew-free. There is always trouble in paradise, however, and this year I noticed a yellowing and dimpling of some of the leaves. Googling brought up the possibility of two-spotted spider mite, which apparently causes yellowing, but a close examination of the leaves showed no webs. My guess is that it’s a virus. What to do? For starters, remind myself not to leave a plant in one spot for ten years, basically neglecting it. It’s good garden practice to lift and divide a perennial periodically, removing any dead or diseased material, renewing the soil, and generally spiffing it up. Next spring, I will dig it up and do this, and treat with some insecticidal soap, just in case it’s the spider mite.
A Plant for Dry Shade
Since plants for dry shade are always in short supply, here’s something to consider: Aster macrophyllus, or Large Leaf Aster. As you can see in the picture, it’s not a tender rose or lovely violet, but a sturdy, dependable, no-nonsense plant that looks nice, not wonderful, and why am I complaining? I guess because I like tender roses and lovely violets better. But it is nice to have something a bit different for dry shade.
Can hostas get sunburned? Absolutely. The summer before last some nearby trees were taken down, and suddenly, piercing late-afternoon beams of sun like death rays zapped a cluster of hostas in the back garden. As you can see, it’s not pretty. Interestingly, most of the other shade plants, including other hosta varieties, vinca, wild ginger, and sweet woodruff were unaffected. Unless I can come up with hosta suntan lotion, it looks like it will have to be moved.