PINK

The Alpine pinks are described under DIANTHUS. Other types range from the old-fashioned varieties for edging, of which the white Mrs Sinkins is probably the best known, to the modern show pinks with perfectly formed, exhibition-type blooms and no tendency to calyx splitting, and the perpetual-flowering Allwoodii pinks, also free from split calyces. The Indian and Japanese pinks are usually treated as biennials and half-hardy annuals respectively. Pinks will grow on most soils, provided they are reasonably fertile and perfectly drained. They are miserable failures in waterlogged ground. Like carnations, they are lime-lovers and must have an open, sunny position. Hyd-rated lime applied at the rate of 2 oz. per sq. yd. before planting is beneficial.

Ordinary garden pinks like Mrs Sinkins and White Ladies do not require any stopping. The Allwoodii and Allwoodii alpinus and other types like the show pinks, which are also continuous flowering, should be stopped at least once. If this is not done, the plants may become straggly. Simply remove the top of the growth at about the sixth joint to encourage rich shoots and a more bushy habit. A sideward pull, preferably in the early morning when growth is more brittle, is the best way to tackle this job. All types of pinks, including the Allwoodii and Allwoodii alpinus are increased by cuttings, whereas the border carnations — see CARNATION — are propagated by layering. Do not take cuttings from shoots which are going to flower, nor from a plant which is dry at the root. Mid-May to early August is the best period for taking cuttings. Basal cuttings and thin top cuttings do not make good plants. The best type of cutting should be 2 to 3 ½ in. long with about 4 pairs of fully developed leaves and taken from the middle of the plant. Pull off the bottom pair of leaves, then cut just under the joint with a sharp knife.

Cuttings are rooted in pots of sandy soil inserted in a cold frame or a cool, shady corner of the garden. Water as necessary to assist rooting. Pinks and Allwoodii can also be increased by division. Put a shovelful of light, sandy soil in the centre of the clump at the base of the main branch. Keep the soil fairly moist. As soon as fresh roots are formed, you can divide and replant. This must be termed a rough and ready method of propagation but with tough varieties like Mrs Sinkins and Inchmery, it is often quite successful.

Recommended Varieties of Pinks.

Bridesmaid: flesh-pink with a carmine centre. Very fragrant. Requires staking.

Dusky: dusky-pink. Does not split its calyx. Very fragrant.

La Queen: a white sport from Dusky.

Inchmery: pale pink, rather loosely-formed flowers. Calyx does not split.

Increases very quickly. Fragrant.

Ludford Pink: rose-pink with exceptionally strong fragrance.

Mrs Sinkins: white merging to pale green at the base of the petal.

Loosely-formed flowers which invariably split their calyces. Very popular for edging but is best divided after a couple of years, otherwise the plants become leggy. Very fragrant. There is a smaller version of Mrs Sinkins which grows to about 6 in. It is called Miss Sinkins.

Old Fringed: small, semi-double white flowers, intensely fragrant. Has been grown in this country for over 300 years.

Red Emperor: maroon with a crimson eye. Useful for edging. Fragrant.

White Ladies: a purer white than Mrs Sinkins, and a more compact habit.

Some gardeners prefer this variety for edging. It is less liable to split its calyx. Very fragrant.

Laced Pinks. These have distinctive markings and eyes.

Dad’s Favourite (A. J. Macself): a very old variety which prefers a light soil. White with chocolate markings. Calyx liable to split.

Laced Hero: white laced with purple. Chocolate eye.

London Glow: ruby-red edged rhodamine-pink.

Show Pinks:

These are primarily grown for exhibition but are also good garden plants, some varieties needing a little support. The rounded blooms must be symmetrical, the outer petals being flat where the variety is double. With singles all the petals should be flat. The habit resembles the Allwoodii pinks, though slightly taller. The calyx does not split. Show Aristocrat: flesh-pink with buff eye. Show Lady: rich salmon-pink. Show Portrait: crimson. Show Splendour: salmon-red.

Allwoodii Pinks:

These have a more branching habit than die other types of pinks. They are in bloom over a long period from May to early autumn. They are, however, quite hardy, provided the soil is not too wet. They force very well in a cold greenhouse and are widely grown for commercial cut flowers. There are single, semi-double and fully double flowers in a wide colour range, many varieties being strongly scented.

Blanche: pure white. Very fragrant.

Doris: light salmon-pink with an azalea, pink eye. Resistant to wind and rain and very fragrant.

Monty: rose-pink with a chocolate centre. Very fragrant. Resistant to bad weather.

Philip: purple with a lighter edge. Excellent for cutting.

Robin: orange-scarlet. Shorter in growth than most varieties. Resistant to bad weather. Excellent for cutting.

Susan: Lilac with black centre. Very fragrant.

Thomas: mahogany-red with maroon centre. Very fragrant.

Vera: salmon-scarlet with coral-red eye.

Winston: bright crimson. Very fragrant.

Allwoodii Alpinus:

These are a group of continuous flowering, very fragrant dwarf pinks for rockeries and stone walls. They have a compact cushion habit, growing to about 6 in. with silvery foliage, and are in bloom from May to October. Perfect drainage is vital. On low, sunken ground they rarely survive the winter. A raised-up surface such as a rockery is, therefore, ideal, provided they are in not less than 3 in. of soil which should be well supplied with compost and bonfire ashes.

Any of the following varieties are well worth growing on the rockery and the plants will persist for 4 years, if given reasonable attention.

Apollo: rose-cerise with a small maroon eye. Double.

Dewdrop: white with a green eye.

Goblin: blush salmon with maroon eye.

Jupiter: deep salmon-pink, eye slightly deeper. Double.

Mars: rich crimson. Double.

Mercury: cherry-red, eye rather darker. Large, semi-double flowers.

Pinkie: silvery-rose. Grows to about 4 inches.

Wanda: white with a maroon eye.

Yellow Pinks:

Yellowhammer is a hybrid between an Allwoodii seedling and Dianthus Knappii. Its habit resembles the Allwoodii. The primrose-yellow double flowers are very pleasing. Goldfinch is apricot-yellow. Both are quite hardy, whereas Dianthus Knappii tends to flower itself to death and is a doubtful perennial.

Indian and Japanese Pinks: Indian (or Chinese) pinks bear large, fringed flowers from summer to early autumn, growing to about 10 in.

They may be sown in early June, transplanting to 3 in. apart and setting in their permanent quarters in August for flowering next year.

The Japanese pinks also bear fringed flowers and they should be sown in heat in January or February and given the usual half-hardy annual treatment.

Mixed strains of either type will provide a wide colour range. The variety Fireball has rich scarlet double blooms and is useful for cutting.

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