Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

May 15th, 2011

….:::: Dianthus Edition ::::….

It’s the 15th of the month again and time for garden bloggers to show off what’s blooming in their gardens via Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, a internet event created and hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Here at Tangled Branches South, we have dianthuses. Lots of dianthuses.

Dianthus 'Rainbow Loveliness'

Dianthus 'Rainbow Loveliness'

I’ve been plugging Dianthus ‘Rainbow Loveliness’ for about as long as I’ve been growing it (since 2007). The fringy feathery flowers are spectacular grouped together, as you can see above, and also rewardingly complex up close.

Dianthus 'Rainbow Loveliness'

Dianthus 'Rainbow Loveliness'

I wrote a longish post about ‘Rainbow Loveliness’ last year, so I won’t repeat myself. But in that post, I mentioned that one of the parents of ‘Rainbow Loveliness’ is a class of dianthus known as Allwood Pinks. When I saw a blend of Allwood Pinks called ‘Fragrant Village Pinks’ in the Chiltern Seeds catalog I had to buy some. I sowed the seed last spring and transplanted several of the plants to the kitchen garden. A few bloomed late last year, and greatly resembled ‘Rainbow Loveliness’. Hmm, didn’t expect that. Now most of the rest of them are in bloom. While I’d agree that they’re fragrant, I’m not so sure about any of them being Allwood Pinks. I have a range of colors, flower forms, and plant habits. Some of them are very nice.

Dianthus x allwoodii 'Fragrant Village Pinks'

Dianthus x allwoodii 'Fragrant Village Pinks'? These particular flowers have a wonderful spicy vanilla-y scent that reminds me of D. gratianopolitanus 'Bath's Pink'.

Some of the flowers are what I would call “curiosities”.

Dianthus x allwoodii 'Fragrant Village Pinks' ?

Dianthus x allwoodii 'Fragrant Village Pinks' ?

And a couple of the flowers even look like the photo on Chiltern’s website.

Dianthus x allwoodii 'Fragrant Village Pinks'

Dianthus x allwoodii 'Fragrant Village Pinks'

So I don’t know exactly what I’ve grown, but I like them all, even the curiosities.

Cottage-y flowers are a favorite of mine, so I couldn’t resist the catalog description of the single-flowered Sweet Williams:

No old English cottage garden could possibly be complete without its share of Sweet Williams, beautiful in the border and perhaps one of the most attractive cut flowers. Easy to grow; once established and left to themselves, they will take over your garden! We also offer lovely single-flowered Sweet Williams in separate colours.

The original, the quintessential, Sweet William, if you have the others, your garden must still have some of these.

Dianthus barbatus, Single-flowered Mix

Dianthus barbatus, Single-flowered Mix

I wouldn’t mind if they did take over my garden. They’re beautiful, they’re fragrant and each flower cluster sits atop a marvelously long straight stem, perfect for cutting. If you’ve only seen the hybrid Sweet Williams that garden centers sell in packs, these are a very different thing. They’re about 18 -24 inches tall (those the deer chewed off over the winter are shorter) and have a very full mounded habit.

Dianthus barbatus, Single-flowered Mix

Dianthus barbatus, Single-flowered Mix

That’s it for the dianthuses. I’m having so much fun with them; you may see more species and varieties here next year.

Another flower I’d like to point out is on a plant not usually grown for flowers. This is a culinary sage, Salvia officinalis ‘Extrakta’.

Sage 'Extrakta'

Sage 'Extrakta'

I’ve grown the plain species before, but I think the flowers on ‘Extrakta’ are nicer – more of them and a brighter blue than the plain species. And a side benefit – the Sweet Williams that were snuggled up next to the sage were not eaten by deer.

So, what else is in bloom? Here’s the list.

  • Provencal Thyme
  • Lemon Mist Thyme
  • Chives
  • Rosemary ‘Herb Cottage’
  • Violas sown from seed saved from ‘Historic Florist Mix’
  • Viola ‘Nature Mulberry Shades’ and ‘Nature Yellow and Red’
  • Cuphea llavea (Bat-faced cuphea)
  • Lonicera sempervirens (Coral Honeysuckle)
  • Salvia x sylvestris ‘May Night’
  • Salvia lyrata
  • Galium verum
  • Vegetables: Peas and Tomatoes!

22 Responses to “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day”

  1. Greggo says:

    I’m in zone 6a and my dianthus firewitch is over. Going to prune mine back today. Like the oddities.

    • entangled says:

      I had ‘Firewitch’ once, but it got swallowed up by some aggressive neighbors and I didn’t rescue it in time. I liked it when I had it.

  2. Megan says:

    Your Dianthus ‘Rainbow Loveliness’ is amazing! I planted Dianthus superbus ssp. speciosus this year, but no blooms yet…

    • entangled says:

      I was going to try some seeds of D. superbus to see how it compares to ‘Rainbow Loveliness’. I’ll just watch your blog instead ;-)

  3. Christine says:

    Love your Dianthus! Very pretty. Happy GBBD :)

  4. Gayle Madwin says:

    Those Dianthus flowers are well worth plugging repeatedly. They’re gorgeous!

    • entangled says:

      Have I convinced you to grow it? Or do you already have some? I’ll be over to check out your blog.

  5. Love these photos of the dianthus, but I really ADORE those culinary sage blooms. It looks like they’re held higher and are a little more showy in general than the regular culinary sage blooms–true?

    • entangled says:

      Well, honestly, I haven’t had the plain species of sage for a while, so I don’t exactly remember the flowers, but I don’t remember ever thinking that I would grow it just for the flowers. But ‘Extrakta”s flowers are very showy – as good as some species that are grown just for the flowers. So that’s a definite maybe. I guess I should grow them side by side and compare.

      • Yeah, I was surprised that was a culinary sage at all! I’m currently growing two varieties (a large-leaf baby plant that wasn’t labeled ‘Berggarten’ but that I hope ends up looking like that, and the very silvery ‘Newe Ya’ar’) for interesting leaves, but none of the flowers that I’ve seen have been that showy. I think you’re convincing me that I need to give that one a try… :)

        • entangled says:

          The only drawback I can think of is that ‘Extrakta’ doesn’t seem quite as hardy as the species. The flowers in the picture are on a plant I started from seed last year. I have one other plant which is the lone survivor from about 6 I planted several years ago, and it’s just starting to bloom now. Or it could be that the place it’s planted isn’t as well drained as I think it is over the winter….

          I know of ‘Berggarten’, but had to look up ‘Newe Ya’ar’. Interesting page about it here, from the South Texas Unit of the Herb Society of America: http://www.herbsociety-stu.org/SalviaNeweYaar.htm

          • That was an interesting read! These have been very hardy for me, although I do need to do some cleanup in the spring. (Mostly because I let the leaves blow around so much in the fall… they don’t like to have those gather at their base so much.) I agree that the taste is better than the regular culinary sage, but I usually like camphor so I’m kind of surprised that they say it has less. I stopped growing the regular stuff when I figured out that this one had so much more flavor AND was prettier. Huh. :)

  6. That Dianthus Barbatus is stunning…lovely color! Your blooms are all so beautiful. Happy GBBD Day!

    • entangled says:

      That particular plant was the first of the Sweet Williams to bloom, and probably the most eye-catching color so far. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Larry says:

    I have been growing sweet williams for years, but have a newfound interest in dianthus… particularly shorter ones. You appear to be very knowledgable on the subject… do you have any really short ones that you recommend… we are in zone 5… and are there specialty seed catalogs that carry a goodly assortment? Thanks for a very interesting post! Larry

    • entangled says:

      I have one teeny tiny dark red dianthus that has survived all kinds of neglect at my garden in northern Virginia for about 20 years, but (and I am embarrassed about this) I don’t know its name. I think it’s some variety of Dianthus deltoides, however. I used to think it was ‘Tiny Rubies’, but I’ve seen photos of ‘Tiny Rubies’ that don’t look anything like what I have. I do remember that I mail-ordered it as a plant; didn’t grow it from seed. I also had ‘Cherry Red’, (bought from Bluestone Perennials) another D. deltoides variety, but I planted it in a too-shady place and it died out. From what I understand, all the D. deltoides varieties are very winter-hardy mat-forming types.

      I got the ‘Rainbow Loveliness’ seeds from Thompson & Morgan (US), but I don’t see them on their website now. I did a quick comparison with Thompson & Morgan’s UK site and was dismayed to find 3 pages of dianthus listings compared to 1 on the US site. They won’t ship outside of the UK from the UK site. Chiltern Seeds, as I mentioned in the blog post, has a good selection and will ship to the US. Another possibility is J. L. Hudson. I haven’t ordered anything from him in a long time, but he has a nice list of dianthus seeds.

  8. Wendy says:

    What a great collection! I love the rainbow lovliness and the fragrant village pinks. So pretty!

    • entangled says:

      And I keep wishing there was a way to transmit scent over the internet….the flowers are so much more attractive by the fragrance…

  9. Entangled, I wish you could transmit the scent, too – the Telstar survive for me as winter flowers in containers and some are blooming now, but I can’t catch much fragrance from them… maybe the air is too dry?

    Those feathery types are enchanting!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    • entangled says:

      I’ve recently noticed that the scent of all the dianthuses here seems strongest in late afternoon, although some of them (Rainbow Loveliness and one of the Fragrant Pinks seedlings) are potent all day.

      I haven’t tried any annual dianthus since I moved to Virginia (or if I did, I forgot), but I always suspected they’d fizzle in midsummer here.

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