Carnations belong to the Dianthus family, and are among the very best flowers for garden and indoor decoration. There are several sections, but for outdoor culture none is more popular and adaptable than the hardy border type.

Good present-day varieties are of strong constitution, having stout stems without any tendency to weak neck, while trouble with ‘split calyx’ can largely be overcome with proper attention and the use of carnation rings.

Border carnations are sun-loving plants, so that a position should be chosen where they have the benefit of full sunlight and are not shaded by trees or buildings or other plants.


The plants will bloom freely if given good soil, which should be neither very heavy nor too light and sandy. Early preparation and the addition of good manure are advisable, and bone meal or a good organic carnation fertiliser should be worked into the surface soil. Acid conditions must be avoided and lime should be applied in the autumn, but not of course at the same time as manure. If the ground is prepared in the autumn, it will be settled for planting time in March. The earlier the plants are put in, the quicker they will become established and will produce flowers during the same summer. Plant firmly and shallowly, so that the collar of the plant is not buried.

Varieties are a matter of personal choice, and colour will be a decisive factor for the indoor decorator. The following are among the best of the plain or self-coloured varieties: ‘Bookham Grand’, crimson; ‘W. B. Cranfield’ and ‘Fiery Cross’, scarlet; ‘Consul’, orange; ‘Southern Mist’, mauve; ‘Sea Foam’ and ‘Snowy Owl’, white. Those with a real clove perfume include: ‘Oakfield Clove’, crimson; ‘Lavender Clove’; ‘Salmon Clove’ and ‘Snow Clove’. There are a number of good fancies, including ‘Downs Flame’, apricot marked orange-scarlet; ‘Zebra’, yellow striped maroon; ‘Downs Souvenir’, white marked scarlet; ‘Sweetheart’, buff suffused salmon-rose.

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