Plant Profile


Cottage Garden Pinks

There is something of an old world charm that surrounds Dianthus, or Pinks as they are better known. They are amongst some of the best garden plants around and what most gardeners tend to refer to a "good doer". Hardy throughout the country, pinks will grow successfully in virtually any soil or situation. Plants form a neat mound of attractive, glaucous evergreen foliage over which the flowers are borne. Flowers are produced perpetually and abundantly from May all the way through to October and the range of colours available means that there is bound to be a variety to suit you. The carnation like flowers are also popular as cut flowers, many gardeners specifically grow them for this purpose on allotments to keep the house stocked with blooms and scent all through summer. And what a scent they have. All pinks have a clove perfume that really has to be experienced in order to appreciate yet another delight of these wonderful plants. The value of Pinks is also confirmed by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) who have given many varieties the prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM). This is the best thing to look for when buying Pinks or indeed other garden plants. You know they have been put through their paces and should serve you well. Some of the best varieties around include.

"Devon General" which has vibrant crimson flowers and a truly perpetual flowering habit. The plants are strong growing producing a neat, compact plant.

"Devon Cream" is a new development in Pink breeding producing chrome yellow blooms with light magenta flushes. It makes a strong growing plant that is best stopped and fed well to produce the most flowers.

"Devon Wizard" has vibrant cyclamen purple flowers with a ruby red centre. The plant is vigorous with stout stems and an AGM winner. Amongst my favourite varieties.

"Cranmere Pool" is yet another favourite. Creamy white double blooms with a deep magenta centre, are produced on neat bushy plants, again an AGM winner.

"Doris" is a traditional variety that I wouldn't be without. This traditional variety has been one of the most useful for the breeders looking for new colours. Pale pink semi-double blooms with a carmine ring are produced in heavy flushes throughout the summer. Another AGM winner.

"Mrs. Sinkins", is a variety I just had to include. A very old cultivar with double white, frilled blooms and a really strong perfume, it should be included in all collections but can be difficult to get hold of.

The variety "Letitia Wyatt" has large, soft pink double blooms in quantity and is a really robust variety. AGM holder.

Of course all the above varieties are excellent but if you are looking for dwarfer plants, or some thing for the alpine garden you can't go wrong with the new star series. "Calypso Star" has Raspberry red petals, framed and dappled with the palest pink whilst "Evening Star" is semi-double with a gorgeous sunset pink with a maroon eye. "Neon Star" is a brand new addition to the series and is an amazing dayglow cerise colour with flowers borne over a tight silver grey mound. There are many more varieties available in the star series with different colour and like all of the above varieties in the series they have an exceptionally strong clove scent.

2000 Chris Bonnett - Gardening Express