Dianthus – Hardy Pinks, Sweet William,, Perennials Guide to Planting Flowers

Perennial Flower Information

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Dianthus – Hardy Pinks, Sweet William,
Maiden Pink, Grass Pink, Pheasant’s Eye, Chinese Pink,
Picotee, Carnation, Clove Pink

The Pinks and the Sweet Williams
are still one of the old-fashioned favorites for the
garden. There are many species and varieties, nearly
all of which make dense tufts of grass-like growth.

The Sweet William (Dianthus
barbatus) is
gorgeous when in bloom. The early English
writers used to tell us that the narrow-leaved varieties
were called Sweet Johns and the broad-leaved sorts Sweet
Williams. However, the sweetness and beauty of the flowers
compensate for the lack of knowledge about their namesakes.
The color scheme ranges from purest white to blackest
red with an infinite number of variations and combinations
of colors. The pink sort, known as Newport Pink, is
a very desirable one with a distinct new color which
florists call watermelon-pink or salmony-rose. The Sweet
Williams grow from 1 foot to 1 1/2 feet tall and bloom
all Summer. The flowers are arranged in large clusters
of bloom and those which are ringed and spotted are
very novel.

The Clove or Garden Pinks
(D. plumarius) are low growing plants which bloom
in early Spring. The single and double flowers have
fringed or jagged petals and are very fragrant. The
colors range from white to bright scarlet and are very
dainty, growing above a dense tuft of gray-green, grass-like

The Chinese Pinks (D.
var Heddewigii) is a biennial;
that is, the seeds must be planted every year in order
to have flowers the next. They also have a wide range
of color and markings and are very popular. The double
forms are especially attractive and the petals are often
deeply and oddly cut. These sorts lack fragrance. They
bloom .later than the others and last till frost-time.

Another interesting sort
with flowers much like a Carnation is D. latifolius
the Everblooming Sweet William, which
has intense crimson, double flowers. The plants grow
18 inches tall and are constantly in bloom in Summer.

Among the dwarf varieties
are found the Maiden Pink (D. deltoides), a dwarf
trailer with rosy-pink or white flowers which open from,
June to August.

UTILIZE. The Pinks are very
fragrant and free bloomers. They are good for cutting,
and for the rock garden, together with the drawfer sorts.
All are good for edgings or to use in borders.

GENERAL. All of the above
Pinks, are of easy culture and except for the Sweet
William and the Chinese Pinks, last for many years.
All like a warm soil and one that will not become too
wet at any time. The plants will die out quickly if
the soil is not well drained. They should be divided
often, else the plants will choke themselves out. The
Sweet William should be treated as a biennial, sowing
the seed each year. When not propagated each year the
plants and flowers are not as large.

PROPAGATION. These plants
often self-sow. They are all readily propagated from
seeds sown in rich soil in April or May, although good
sized plants may be grown from seed sown in Midsummer.
The double sorts must be propagated from cuttings if
they are to come true. Layering has proven the easiest
and surest way of propagating the Garden Pinks (D.


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