Archive for May 14th, 2008

Dianthus, or pinks, are one of my favorite flowers. Like marigolds, they are a simple, old-fashioned flower. They offer great mixed colors and flower sizes, are very easy to grow, come back every year, and bloom profusely.

I have one type of dianthus here that forms a thick silvery evergreen mat of foliage that tumbles neatly over the edges of my rock wall beds.

dianthus flowers in rock wall bed
Multi-color dianthus blooms in a rock wall bed, with evergreen dianthus with white flowers hanging over the edges.

shades of pinks and reds   whites and dark pinks   small flowerbed filled with dianthus
These flowers were planted in the spring of last year, and have returned even thicker and prettier this year.

While these plants are usually marked as annuals at garden centers in our area, they truly are perennials here. I buy a few more every year, and have them all over my yard, here and there in flower beds, along the edge of my driveway and patio, in containers, and hanging over rock wall beds. The foliage is soft and grasslike and the plants form neat mounds.

red dianthus in containerpinks growing in a container for several yearsThese dianthus are growing in containers. The red ones (left) were also planted in spring of last year, and the bright pink ones in the green planter were planted 3 years ago. They survive thru the winters here with no care whatsoever, even in containers.

red and white dianthus

dianthus in a rock wall flowerbed   pinks in a narrow border   clumps of dianthus blooming

I deadhead these flowers regularly, snip them back a little every now and then throughout the summer, water them only during extreme dry spells, and otherwise leave them alone. After the first frost in late fall, they stop blooming and the tops of the plants and flowers turn brown. I leave them alone all throughout the winter. In the spring, as new growth starts, I snip off the brown tips, and they start flowering again.

Pictured below, left to right: The first photo shows a narrow bed along the edge of my driveway. I planted this narrow strip of ground last year with dianthus, and they have returned thicker and prettier this year. The second photo is another clump of the silvery, evergreen type. The third photo shows another thick clump in full bloom right now, originally planted last year.

narrow borderevergreen dianthusprolific flowers

All photos in this post were taken over this past week. Click any photo to view a larger version.

From wikipedia:
Dianthus (aka carnations, pinks, sweet william) is a genus of about 300 species native mainly to Europe and Asia, with a few extending south to north Africa, and one (D. repens) in arctic N. America. The name Dianthus is from the Greek words dios (“god”) and anthos (“flower”). The species are mostly perennial herbs, a few are annual or biennial, and some are low subshrubs with woody basal stems.

The colour pink may be named after the flower. The origin of the flower name ‘pink’ may come from the frilled edge of the flowers: the verb “pink” dates from the 14th century and means “to decorate with a perforated or punched pattern” (maybe from German “pinken” = to peck). Source: Collins Dictionary. The verb sense is also used in the name of pinking shears.

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