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Friday, May 5, 2017




Friday, 9:00 AM.  37 degrees F at the ferry dock, 37 on the back porch.  Wind N, calm.  The sky has a low overcast with heavy fog over the lake, and the humidity 94%, but the sun is beginning to shine through.  We may get some rain late this afternoon.  The forecast for the next seven days calls for mixed skies, no precipitation, and temperatures around 50.
   Our trip to Northwoods Nursery yesterday was pleasant, uneventful and productive.  The Arbor Day tree has been unloaded at the city shop.  It will be planted on May 12, as part of Bayfied In Bloom, and will be dedicated to Jay Cablk of Jay's Tree Care, who was killed by a falling tree in January.
   Creeping phlox, Phlox subulata, has just begun to bloom in the garden.  My recorded blooming dates are 5/04/16, 5/03/15, 5/31/14, 4/25/12, 5/17/11, and 4/19/10.  The late May date is probably late in the bloom cycle, as creeping phlox can bloom for several weeks.   The April dates seem to indicate  early springs, but it looks like this year is right about on average.
   Creeping phlox, in the Polemoneaceae family, are native to the eastern and southeastern United States, and are also found on the dunes of Lake Michigan and some of the other Great Lakes.  The species has been much planted and hybridized in the nursery trade.  There are many cultivars and color shades, from pink to white to blue.  Its native habitat is sand dunes and rocky ledges, and it does well in a rock garden.  It is an evergreen perennial and grows as a creeping mat, seldom taller than 6". 
   Creeping phlox can naturalize in sandy and less well cared for lawns, where it will withstand careful mowing.  One is fortunate indeed to have creeping phlox invade and persist in a mowed lawn, where it is very beautiful, but difficult if not impossible to introduce.
   There is an old cemetery on Hwy. 2 just a few miles east of Hurley, WI, that is an unbelievable sight when the phlox bloom, but they were not yet in bloom there yesterday.  Bayfield's Catholic cemetery also has a nice display of phlox but they are not in bloom as yet either.

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