Sweet William, Indian Pink or Annual(half hardy ) Sweet William, and belong to the genus , and its list of varieties is as long as its history. The Ancient Greeks called the Carnation the Divine Flower – the Elizabethans of Britain grew a wide variety of fancy gillyflowers (Pinks). In today’s garden you will find Dianthus varieties in the rockery, and in beds, borders and window boxes – at the florist you will see the showy blooms of Perpetual . Dianthus are generally grass-like and often grey- or blue-tinged. Nearly all varieties have a liking for lime but it is not really essential.
VARIETIES: Three species of Dianthus are commonly grown asor . D.barbatus is the familiar Sweet William which bears densely-packed, flattened heads of in midsummer. You can buy single-colour or distinctly-eyed varieties. Sweet William is usually grown as a but annual types are available. D. chinensis is the Indian or Annual Pink – 1.5 in. fragrant in many brilliant colours and combinations; look for ‘Baby Doll’ (mixed), ‘ ’ (white), ‘Queen of Hearts’ (red) and the new bushy ‘Telstar’ (mixed). D. caryophyllus hybrids are the Annual Carnations – the double flowers are about 2 in. across and these plants make excellent bedding except in the far north. Reliable strains are ‘Chabaud’, ‘Knight’ and ‘Raoul Martin’.
SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil which is not acid will do – choose a sunny spot.
PLANT DETAILS: Height 1-2 ft (Sweet William), 6 in.-1.5 ft (Indian Pink), 1.5 ft (Annual Carnation).
Spacing: 9 in. (Sweet William), 6 in. (Indian Pink), 1 ft (Annual Carnation).
Flowering period: June-July (Sweet William), July-October (Indian Pink and Annual Carnation).