No, not that kind of boring.  This kind of boring.

Phlox paniculata ‘Coral Flame’

You’re not seeing it?  Ok, let’s step back in time.  These are the buds of Phlox paniculata ‘Coral Flame’.  They are lovely little buds, aren’t they?

Phlox paniculata ‘Coral Flame’ buds.

They get little swirls like a Mr Whippy ice-cream.

Phlox paniculata ‘Coral Flame’. Mr Whippy raspberry ripple.

I never noticed exactly how they go from this to fully open.  Until I got my macro lens!

Phlox paniculata ‘Coral Flame’, with opening buds.

They open out like boring machines.  You know, machines which bore.  Tunnels, underground.

Phlox paniculata ‘Coral Flame’. Boring machine.

Yes, I know they also look a little like something else.

Phlox paniculata ‘Coral Flame’. Ahem.

Oops.  But not from this angle:

Phlox paniculata ‘Coral Flame’ bud opening.

Look how they open out!

Phlox paniculata ‘Coral Flame’ bud opening.

And then the petals fold backwards, like this:

Phlox paniculata ‘Coral Flame’

Who knew?

After I made this discovery, I picked one of the flowers to see exactly how it opens.  If you gently pull at one of the petals, the whole thing magically opens out.  It reminded me of one of those paper things we used to make at school – you know how you fitted your fingers and thumbs under to open and close and could lift a flap to see a message?  Only it has five, not four flaps, which is even more clever.

It also reminded me that Phlox flowers have long throats for moths and other insects with a nice long proboscis!  Phlox has a honey scent, a little like Nicotiana, which is stronger in the evening to attract moths.

Phlox is the easiest hardy perennial to grow: once planted, it looks after itself.  The only aftercare it might need is to be divided every three to five years.  It self-seeds nicely, around its base, but does not take over.

My aim on this site is to share the sense of wonder I get from gardening and being outdoors.

If you would like to join the joy, click on the ‘Follow’ button at the end of this post. You will receive an email each time I post a little pop of wonder.

44 Comments Add yours

  1. photosociology says:

    Oh my gosh, how wonderful, and some great photos with your new lens.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you! This always feels like I’ve been given a star by the teacher!

  2. pommepal says:

    Nature is so clever

  3. fredgardener says:

    If I could take a time lapse , it might be great to see what you have described! I’ll try…

      1. bcparkison says: watching every thing unfold.

      2. Ali says:

        That’s fantastic, Fred!

    1. Ali says:

      That would be wonderful, Fred!

      1. fredgardener says:

        But not easy…

      2. Ali says:

        If anyone can, you can!

      3. fredgardener says:

        Done! Posted tonight.

  4. Penny Post says:

    Love that you spend so long studying your flowers.

    1. Ali says:

      Ha ha! I am a natural daydreamer.

  5. I always enjoy your sense of humor Ali, but I was thinking the same thing.

  6. Love this post, I had no idea this is how phlox flowers open. The benefits of a macro-lens! Caroline calls those paper things from when we were at school Finger Fortunes though there are lots of names for them!

    1. Ali says:

      I’ve been trying to think what we called them, but just can’t get there!

  7. bcparkison says:

    Isn’t Nature wonderful? and I have always enjoyed time-lapse photos that show the real drama of Nature.

    1. Ali says:

      Did you ever see the David Attenborough series ‘The Secret Life of Plants’? It was fabulous. Lots of time-lapse of plant growth. I think I tried to get it on DVD but couldn’t find it.

      1. bcparkison says:

        Womder if it is on netflix?

      2. Ali says:

        It’s worth a try!

      3. bcparkison says:

        I just found it on Youtube. Thanks.I don’t do TV so this will be my go to.

      4. Ali says:

        Oh, fab! I will look for it too!

  8. Heyjude says:

    Fascinating and I had to smile at a couple of your angles 🙂
    So phlox is an easy perennial and scented. Might have to get some of those too.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, really easy. It doesn’t have the subtlety of a geranium, say, but it is good for a big blast of colour at this time of year.

  9. So beautiful and incredible!

  10. vbdb says:

    Like a tiny lemon reamer! Lovely photos.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes!! Exactly like that! I didn’t know the word! Thank you – will always remember that now!

  11. Great observation and post!

  12. Beautiful post, as always! Reminded me of my life-long love of Phlox – probably time to get one for my balcony!

  13. Val says:

    Beautiful. Reminds me of watching Cyclamen buds unfurling.

  14. Eliza Waters says:

    That’s a cool closeup sequence. I love phlox for their long flowering time and they make nice cutflowers, too. My only complaint is controlling powdery mildew, despite all the precautions, it still runs rampant. Every year, I threaten to rip them out, but I never do it.

  15. How I love reading your blog! Honestly, it refreshes in a whimsical yet grounding way. It’s a bit like reading a Japanese Koan or a proverb. The message is simple, really, the words straightforward. No pretense of being anything other than it is—a post about lovely flowers. Yet I am transported. Why is that, I wonder?

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Angela, that is lovely to hear. I am completely absorbed when I’m looking at flowers, so maybe we are hardwired to focus when we are communing with nature? Something about being natural foragers and having to tune in with all our senses?

  16. Since reading this I noticed a similar bud style on Rosebay Willowburn, and with the similar leaves it got me wondering if they’re related. Any idea?

    1. Ali says:

      There is a similarity. My brief google hasn’t thrown anything up, but it is amazing how plants can be related.

      1. Also love how your original post triggered me to look closer!

      2. Ali says:

        Thank you; that is lovely to hear!

  17. Willowherb. Predictive text added our local leisure centre instead..!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s