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Green Valley Supply's Gardening Encyclopedia

Dianthus (Carnation, Pink, Sweet William)

Dianthus (Carnation, Pink, Sweet William)

(From the Greek dios, divine, and anthos, z flower)

Dianthus barbatus, vars.

English Names: Sweet William, Bunch pink, Blooming down, London pride,

London tuft, Snowflake, Sweet John.

Single and double round flat flowers, an inch to an inch and a half in diameter, very variously colored and marked, in shades of white, pink, and crimson, borne in dense rounded terminal heads of twenty to thirty flowers and often four inches across, on leafy erect stems from ten to eighteen inches high. The foliage is simple, rather broadly pointed, and clean looking when young, but after blooming the plant becomes decidedly shabby.

An old garden favorite, and popular at the present day, perhaps more for its association than for its qualities. The single whites, true pinks, and dark crimsons make fine spots of color in the herbaceous border, but the magentas must be carefully avoided, and many of the parti-colored varieties are ugly. The double flowers last longer but are rather clumsy in form.

Excellent for cutting. Theoretically, the plant will last several years, but the second year is by far its best blooming season, so that it is usually treated as a biennial, seeds being sown in July for bloom the following year. One or two plants of the best colors should be allowed to seed (a paper bag tied over the head marks the plant and protects and collects the seed) and the rest should be cut down or pulled up immediately after blooming.

The bare spot left before the new seedlings have made their first year's growth is rather difficult to conceal, as Dianthus is necessarily planted in the front of the border. Of easiest culture, thriving in any soil, even clay or sand, and in full exposure to the sun; is little the worse for drought. Propagate by seed.

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