Fanciful Inspiration Flows From the Phlox

Fanciful Inspiration Flows From the Phlox

By Carleton Varney- Special to the Palm Beach Daily News

My sister, Vivian, who lives outside of Seattle in a small country town, recently sent me a text with a photograph of the phlox flowers in her garden. The pink, white, magenta and violet colors reminded me that phlox was my mother’s favorite flower in the garden she so carefully tended.

I also recalled how as a child, I used phlox in the arrangements I would enter in the annual shows held by the garden club at town hall in Nahant, Massachusetts. For many many years, the Varney children had a few arrangements in different categories to enter. I don’t remember ever getting first prize, but second and third, I do recall! There was definitely a decorator blooming in the flower show.

Perhaps my sister would remember what prize her entry was awarded.

When I think of phlox, I easily can visualize a charming master bedroom that might be decorated with the exact colors of the flower. Here are some ideas for you to create a room with lots of feminine touches.

Begin by covering your walls with a moiré wallcovering of very pale phlox pink, and for your trim choose a phlox white.

For valances and window drapery, look for a damask in deep-and-rich magenta and white. For this elegant bedroom, the furniture can be French — any of the Louis will do whether 14th, 15th or 16th. To give the room a bit of Palm Beach style, choose mostly white pieces with gold trim.

A bedroom needs a chaise — maybe a wide double one — covered in a small flowery print, perhaps one with little pink flowers and green leaves. The fabric showrooms will offer great choices.

You might also accent the French furnishings with some antique Venetian pieces, especially if you’re already lucky enough to own them. I would hang a pair of Venetian glass mirrors over each of the bedside night stands.

The bed’s headboard can be covered in a white durable fabric and trimmed in soft phlox pink. Bedding can be all white, monogrammed. The staff at Pioneer Linens on Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach could definitely point you in the right direction.

For something soft underfoot, go for an Aubusson-type carpet with lots of creams, whites, pinks and light blues. I’ve certainly seen flower beds of phlox with a touch of blue or lavender in the mix.

An elegant bedroom needs a chandelier — again, a Venetian-style one would be lovely, with pink glass.

I suggest a room without a television, although I know that for many people, it’s a standard fixture. Yet in these days of COVID-19, I have decided to limit watching media reports that change by the minute. Keeping up with the news is one thing, but watching wall-to-wall coverage can be overwhelming. A bedroom should be a restful spot, a haven, a place to get away from it all.

Instead of the TV, fill a bookshelf with wonderful, inspiring books that you can find at Classic Book Shop or the Palm Beach Book Store.

And to top off your bedroom’s phlox-color decorating, add a big bowl filled with your favorite flowers, from either your own garden or the store.

1 comment

  • Louise Sperling Ragone on

    Dear Carlton: Your writings are a delight to read in these troubled times. I hope you and your Phlox stay safe and healthy. Keep your spirits up and stay creative! LSR

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