Phloxy Lady?

Last week I posted about Phlox paniculata ‘Coral Flame’ in Boring…  But then I felt guilty for leaving out the equally fabulous ‘Purple Flame’, so I thought I would give her a post of her own too.

Here she is, with ice-cream swirl buds just bursting.

Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’

There are lovely tones of blue-lilac, but with pink-magenta in on the long neck of the flower, and in the shadows of the swirl.

Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’

Although phlox has impact with its floriferous explosion, it is also lovely close-up.  It has subtlety too.

Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’

I thought I might try to show the way the buds are folded.  Here they are, one slightly more open than the other (admire too their hairy throats!)


And, excusing my dirty fingernails, here is how they open…



So simple.  Beautiful engineering.

Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’

Another curious thing about this phlox is that in the morning, she is very definitely blue-purple.

Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’

But as soon as she gets some sun on her, she takes on a magenta-purple glow.

Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’

And by afternoon it is as if she has a inner source of light.  She is enlightened, emblazoned, empowered.


They die down to a cool glow of an evening.

Phlox paniculate ‘Purple Flame’

Phlox are self-supporting, hardy, low-maintenance creatures. They wear their imperfections without shame.


They can look a bit battered and often bear scars on their petals, but don’t we all?

Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’

The old flowers shrivel, and make way for the next generation.  They hope they will fare well.

Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’

I hesitated before using this title.

The song ‘Foxy Lady’ has been swirling around in my subconscious.  There is an uncomfortable niggle.  When I checked the lyrics, I saw why.

This song encapsulates the discomfort and the double-bind of being a young woman.  Of wanting to be ‘a cute little heartbreaker’.  And then realising it isn’t that great after all.  The lyrics are interesting.  But you have to like the song, right?  You can’t be a party pooper.  And there’s the rub.

You know you’re a cute little heartbreaker
You know you’re a sweet little lovemaker

I wanna take you home
I won’t do you no harm, no
You’ve got to be all mine, all mine
Ooh, foxy lady

I see you, heh, on down on the scene
You make me wanna get up and scream
Ah, baby listen now
I’ve made up my mind
I’m tired of wasting all my precious time
You’ve got to be all mine, all mine
Foxy lady
Here I come

Here I come
I’m comin’ to get ya
Foxy lady
You look so good
Yeah, foxy
Yeah, give us some

My eldest daughter learnt about consent in school yesterday, something we never covered in our Sex Ed classes.  She explained to me the analogy of offering a cup of tea.

If someone is asleep, or drunk, or sad, or they don’t like tea, or they don’t like your brand of tea, or they do like tea, all sorts of ways, and have shared a cup of tea with you before, but they don’t want one now, then you don’t insist.  You don’t try to persuade them.  You don’t guilt-trip them.  You don’t pretend they really do want a cup of tea.

It’s a good starting point, isn’t it?

But we also need to become more aware of these myriad messages infused in our culture, and how they contribute.

This is how we got here. But we don’t have to stay here.

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.

20 Comments Add yours

  1. janesmudgeegarden says:

    I love the way those phlox change colour during the day, and also the cup of tea analogy. Education has come a long way!

    1. Ali says:

      I really liked the cup of tea analogy. It kind of brings into focus the weirdness of the behaviour, doesn’t it?

  2. Love how you show the variation in colour over the course of the day!

    1. Ali says:

      It is a really striking colour change; I am glad I managed to capture it.

  3. I have this phlox in my front garden, but when I was weeding yesterday, I noticed the deer had eaten all but a few of the blooms off 😦 Have a nice weekend Ali!

    1. Ali says:

      Oh deer! I would love to see deer, but I’m guessing this is the down side!

  4. pommepal says:

    That is so amazing how the colour changes during the day. Very observant of you Ali, and well captured in your photos

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you, Pauline!

  5. bcparkison says:

    Phlox…such a simple but beautiful addition to any garden. As for the cup of tea…I sometimes wonder what are the teaching our children?But then I remember my dear friend,an older lady, who explained to her children and their friends that sex is like a fire. Just close enough to be warm but too close and you get burned.

  6. fredgardener says:

    Still going to make the montage of my time lapse of flowering. Will post it soon!

  7. Heyjude says:

    I adore your names for your flowers! And this is a perfect one for my newly conceived idea of a purple border (influenced by a recent garden visit). I once saw ‘Phlox of Sheep’ and thought I had to have them, until I found out they are pastel colours. I don’t really do pastel.

    1. Ali says:

      Oooh, I like the sound of a purple border. Love the name of that phlox! Yes, I am only just warming to pastels – I always preferred brights. But so long as there are some dark colours too, I can handle a few pastels now!

      1. Heyjude says:

        That might be the way to go. Actually my planting is very ad hoc still. I might have got the hang of this plot in about 10 years time!

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