Summer doesn't seem quite summer until the phlox ignites. A wonderful blast of color that seems to wait until just the right moment, then it’s everywhere.
During a recent visit to the Rittall Farm (home of the Community Garden) I was drawn to an old barn sided with natural shakes. The east side of the barn, up to almost window-height on one end, overflowed with phlox. The plants held a remarkable aroma and contrasted perfectly with the graying shingles.
Years ago I would occasionally stop by to give Chetley a hard time, or maybe see Mrs. Rittall about a notary item. It’s a grand farm along Route 27, across from the Miss Piggy mailbox. The garden used to have rows and rows of gladioli (as Dame Edna would say), which I believe David McKown's sister, Martha, looked after some. I'm not sure but I think Jane Conley, and maybe the Greenhouse too, used to select from the crop. I could be wrong, but the gardens were beautiful.
I never noticed the phlox at the farm. The plants may not have been so prominent years ago, but this year they were huge and brightly colored. Too bad they were out back of the house and harder to see.
Although, Mrs. Rittall did say that people were quite regularly waddling out through the back dooryard to get a closer look and collect a photo or two. In the parking lot of the consignment shop, at the front of the property, you could just catch a glimpse of the barn and the flowers.
If Chetley were still alive, I might guess that he'd have cultivated a wee bit of a trail leading to the phlox along which could be found a few items for sale.