Orchid blast offers phlox perfection

It was just a couple of weeks ago that children had visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. I'm not sure about sugar plums, but as I am bunkered in by the fireplace I do have dreams of great new plants and partnerships I want to try in the landscape when spring arrives.

One new flower I can't wait to get my hands on is Orchid Blast phlox. You simply will not believe the shimmering array of colors you'll see in this new addition to the Intensia phlox series.

I'm not sure how you would describe the color as you see hints of violet or purple, and pink with a hot pink eye. The flowers are so glowingly vibrant they will be seen from a great distance.

If you have not included phlox in your garden in a few years you will be in for quite a surprise with the Intensia series. Like a thoroughbred race horse having the DNA to run this phlox was engineered, or hybridized if you will, to put on a dazzling floral show.

The thing that seems to be incredible is this performance lasts from late spring through summer. With a little pinching or cutting back in late summer you'll have them causing a commotion in the fall.

Orchid Blast has that color that will look stunning with deep dark purple, various shades of blue and of course white. You'll find some of these colors in other Intensia phlox as well as several series of petunias. Add an informal drift of light yellow from a few plants of Lemon Drop primrose or oenothera and you'll have a stunning combination.

The Intensia series will reach from 14 to 18 inches in height and should be placed to the middle of the border. With such long season of bloom it brings a new dimension to the world of phlox. Though Orchid Blast is new know that it has already garnered awards in trials and no doubt you'll want to give them a few ribbons of your own,

When spring inevitably arrives you will want to plant your phlox in fertile, well-drained soil giving them plenty of sun for best blooming. Well drained is really a mandate. They are certainly tolerant of a little afternoon shade or filtered light. After planting, apply a good layer of mulch to conserve moisture and deter weed competition.