Dianthus species

Tough perennial Dianthus, name unknown, which produces blooms for months if deadheaded regularly

The genus Dianthus is a large one, comprising around 300 species, and including the carnations we often see in florist's shops. They hail from Europe, Asia and southern Africa. The lower-growing types are endearing favourites in English cottage gardens and are often referred to as 'pinks'. They have dainty, rounded - and often fragrant - flowers in a variety of colours ranging from white, many pinks, to crimson, often with a contrasting 'eye' or edge, and with single or double forms. Alas, I have never had much success with them in my Sydney garden - with one exception. A number of years ago I was given a green-leaved form (many of them have silver foliage) with fringed, hot-pink flowers (pictured above; about 20 cm in height. It has thrived for me in a dry, sunny position, spilling over the edge of a brick wall, and blooms almost all year round if it is deadheaded every so often. I have no idea of its cultivar or species name, but every time I pass it, I admire it. It survives our hot, humid summers, whereas most of the Dianthus cannot cope with these conditions. It is easily propagated by cuttings taken in autumn or early spring, and has no noticeable pests or diseases. I cut it back very hard in late August and it rejuvenates well. It is possibly a cultivar of Dianthus barbatus or perhaps a hybrid of two species.

Flowers in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, October, November, December.

 Out now in my Sydney Garden.