I have been going through the tedious work of sorting the pictures I took over the last 12 months. I am not very good at discarding, so there is a lot to sort. I promised myself that next year I will sort them as I take them, but it might be wishful thinking as I am too busy at the time of the year I take most of my pictures. However, while sorting I came upon pictures of Dianthus amurensis and thought that this one plant deserves its own post.
We garden on basic soil with a mostly sunny exposure. These are the conditions most dianthus like, and consequently we have a fair number of them. There are lots of maiden pinks that I let self-seed all over the place and just as many unidentified "pinks" with grey foliage, and white, pink or red flowers. I have also a few rock garden species, such as the lovely Alpine pink which is short lived, but comes readily from seed.
Last summer I also had two "fancy" pinks, that is to say dianthus that are the result of plant breeding work. One I have a name for, Dianthus plumarius "Velvet 'n Lace", but the first one below remains nameless. It started its life in a pot and in mid-summer was transferred to the ground. Both plants are beautiful, but usually such cultivars do not last very long. Technically, they are perennial, but quite short-lived. We will see if they pull through the winter.
|"Velvet n Lace" pink|
I like them all (in part because they tend to do well in the conditions our garden has to offer). But I have a special liking for Dianthus amurensis, a plant that takes its name from the Amur river in Russia. First of all it has rather large blooms, similar in size to those of improved varieties. Most species dianthus have much smaller flowers.
The colour is also interesting. It is the closest to blue the dianthus species has to offer. In fact, it is really closer to a dark lilac colour. Perhaps its best feature is that it blooms when all the other dianthus are over with. I see that Thompson and Morgan indicates that they bloom in late spring, which surprises me. However at Roche Fleurie, they start blooming only in July (the blooming time most sites indicate), and they are still going strong when Verbena bonariensis (a flower of a similar colour) is coming out, in August. In other words, they bloom much longer than most pinks, and they also produce a lot of seeds that are very easy to germinate.
All and all, a work horse of a perennial: it is very attractive, lasts a long time and is easy to grow.