- Pinks offer sensational show when they flower in June and July
- If bought in pots, they can be planted whenever you like
- Best time to take cuttings is between now and late July
Make no mistake – pinks are garden megastars. They don’t grow very big and that needly foliage is hardly luxuriant.
But when their flowers open in profusion, come June and July, the show is sensational. The colours and patterns of the blooms are uniquely beautiful.
Some have bold central markings, others are laced with contrasting patterns. Most are fragrant and the prettiest have serrated or ‘pinked’ petal edges, hence the common name.
Fragrant frills: Dianthus Gran’s Favourite will cheer your garden and is a good cut-flower
Their scientific name Dianthus means ‘divine flower’. Pinks are perfect for cut flower arrangements, as well as for growing outdoors.
Florists prefer long-stemmed varieties as they are easy to arrange. But you can make charming posies with Alpine varieties or use taller Sweet Williams, which are also pinks.
These versatile perennials thrive in beds or borders, in well drained patio pots or on rock gardens. And there are roughly 300 wild species to try. Especially pretty are our native Cheddar pink Dianthus gratianopolitanus, exquisitely feathered D.monspessulanus and spiky-looking D.carthusianorum
Pinks are traditionally planted in autumn or spring. But, if bought in pots, they can be planted whenever you like.
Even in flower, most transfer easily into beds or planters. Border pinks such as salmon and red Diane or purple-laced Gran’s Favourite have stems 35cm long and last well in water.
Some varieties can flop outdoors and, in older ones such as white Mrs Sinkins, flowers can split.
Florists prefer long-stemmed varieties as they are easy to arrange. But you can make charming posies with Alpine varieties or use taller Sweet Williams, which are also pinks (pictured)
Recently bred garden pinks, many from the Whetman nursery (whetmanpinks.com) are better adapted to modern gardening but retain old-world charm.
These include white Memories, Lady In Red and maroon-centred white Bright Eyes.
All are fragrant. Whetman have also developed single -flowered beauties, such as white, limecentred Mojito and pink and maroon-eyed Shirley Temple.
Alpine pinks are smaller but more versatile. For sinks and troughs, try rose-purple Inshriach Dazzler, pink Little Jock and frilly white Berlin Snow.