Late summer, in Northeastern gardens, is when most flowers decide to call it a day. Spent by their explosive displays, they leave the show before the grand finale. Few flowers will wait this long to bloom, but phlox hold out patiently for their turn in the limelight.
Phlox (Phlox paniculata) possess all of the qualities that I look for in flowers:
grow in part shade (I've got plenty of that)like moist soil (ditto)display deep, saturated colors (haughty hussies that they are)bloom for a prolonged period (up to 6 weeks!)require little care (yay for that)have a heavenly scent (mmmm)are edible (jackpot)
If you're wondering what phlox taste like, think barely ripe bananas and pears. Add to that the sweet muskiness of figs.
Cooking with phlox is a study in flower pigmentation. When heat or extreme cold is applied, the anthocyanin (water-soluble pigment responsible for pink, purple and blue color in plants) bonds with other compounds already present in the flower, turning the petals from pink to blue. As the reaction continues, the blue mellows to a lavender-mauve. This is the same chemical reaction that occurs with red cabbage and onions.