Father's Favorite Flowers
My Dad's favorite wildflower must have been Phlox. I remember him showing me the plant when I was young, making sure I took a whiff of the spicy scented flowers and took notice of the color ranges in the bloom throughout the season. When he spotted them along the road as we drove by he would ask "What kind of flowers are they?" And I would reply proudly with "Phlox!"Now I know that they are specifically called Blue Phlox, Woodland Phlox, or Wild Sweet William. The scent IS wonderful. I can remember Dad always saying "I smell Phlox" as we rode in the car. Or if we were walking he would often hunt them down, by following his nose. He sometimes brought bouquets of them home with him, to be placed in a vase. Though they didn't last long after being cut, it was well worth it, since they brought so much pleasure for that short time before they wilted away.
By Memorial Day the Phlox are just coming into full bloom in Northern Pennsylvania, and each year as we made the trip to visit family cemetery plots in Blossburg Pa. it was his habit to walk across the road to see the flowering Phlox growing along the creek before we left to return to New York, where it would usually be another week before they opened their fragrant petals.
I have many times tried to transplant the wild variety in my flower gardens at home, and finally did succeed in having the perennial reappear the next year and even spread a little. I much prefer the wild variety to the garden species, but that may be just because it will forever remind me of Dad.