DIANTHUS Border Carnation, Pinks

Dianthus is found in several parts of the garden. In the rockery you will see the Alpine Pinks and in the flower beds both Sweet William and the Annual Carnations are popular. This section deals with the hardy perennial varieties – the Border Carnations, the Old-fashioned Pinks and the Modern Pinks. All form tufts of grassy grey-green leaves with flowers borne on upright stems. Perfume is an important feature and all will flourish in chalky soil and urban smoke. The Border Carnations produce stout stems and the blooms are large. Staking is essential. A typical Carnation is quite different from a typical Pink, but the dividing line is not clear cut. Pinks have more delicate stems, narrower leaves, smaller flowers and a more dainty appearance.

Flowering period: July (southern counties), August (northern counties). After a few seasons the plants deteriorate and will need to be replaced. The petals are smooth-edged (unlike the serrated petals of the Florist Carnation) and there are selfs (single colour), fancies (2 or more colours) and picotees (pale colour with a darker edging). The list of varieties is enormous – you will find names like ‘Edenside Fairy’, ‘Consul’, ‘Fiery Cross’ and ‘Perfect Clove’. Old-fashioned Pinks grow about 1 ft high and should be planted 1 ft apart. There is a single flush of flowers in June and they are slow growing, but there is still a place for ‘Mrs Sinkins’ and ‘White Ladies’ (white), ‘Excelsior’ (carmine) and ‘Emil Par6’ (pink). The Modern Pinks (hybrids of D. allwoodii) are steadily taking over because they are quicker growing and have a ‘perpetual-flowering’ habit, blooming in June and July and again in autumn. Choose your Pinks from this Modern group – there are ‘Doris’ (salmon-pink), ‘Show Pearl’ (white), ‘Robin’ (scarlet) and many others.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil which is not acid will do – choose a sunny spot.

PROPAGATION: Sow seeds under glass in April or plant cuttings in a cold frame in July. Alternatively layer side shoots in August.

Old-fashioned Pink

By careful selection you can ensure that your border will be in bloom during every month of the year. For each month there is a list of perennials which can be expected to be in full flower-rememberthat some of these plants may come into bloom earlier and can continue to flower for many weeks afterwards.

Acanthus spinosus Achillea filipendulina Agapanthus africanus Anchusaazurea Campanula spp. Dianthus caryophyllus Echinacea purpurea Echinops ritro Eryngium spp. Gaillardiaaristata Helenium autumnale Helianthus decapetalus Heliopsisscabra Hosta spp. Kniphofia uvaria Ligularia dentata Limonium latifolium


Lysimachia clethroides Macleaya cordata Oenothera missouriensis Phlox spp.

Physostegia virginiana Polygonum affine Potentilla hybrids Rudbeckiafulgida Salvia superba Saponaria officinalis Sidalcea malvaefiora Solidago hybrida Stachys lanata Stokesia laevis Thalictrum dipterocarpum Tradescantia virginiana Verbascum hybridum

Acanthus spinosus Achillea filipendulina Agapanthus africanus Anaphalis spp. Anemone japonica Aster novi-belgii Chrysanthemum rubell Cimicifuga foetida Clematis heracleifolia Cortaderiaselloana Echinacea purpurea Eryngium spp. Inula hookeri Kniphofia uvaria Liatris spicata Ligularia dentata Liriope muscari


Lysimachia clethroides

Lythrum salicaria

Oenothera missouriensis

Phlox spp.

Physalis franchetii

Physostegia virginiana um Polygonum affine

Potentilla hybrids Rudbeckiafulgida Salvia superba Saponaria officinalis Schizostylis coccinea Sedum spectabile Solidago hybrida Stokesia laevis Tradescantia virginiana Viola odorata

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