Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dianthus amurensis

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.

Dianthus amurensis

Maiden pinks

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.

Alpine pink
White "Pink"

Pink "Pink"

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.

Unidentified pink

"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.

Dianthus amurensis

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.


  1. Good morning Alain,
    While the hybrid Dianthus has never ben a favourite of mine, I must say that Dianthus amurensis is one that I could go for, very nice. I know how you feel regarding the photo sorting, and I too make myself promises that I will sort them as they are taken. As a result, I now have quite a large number of files titled 'To Be Sorted' in our photo album lol. Maybe one day eh?

  2. Now I have learned to use a camera I have a couple of thousand plant pictures. The only sorting I do is to weed out the rubbish ones. Otherwise they are there as a resource. You never can tell which will be relevant to future blog posts.
    What's sorting, I would not have a clue how to classify them. The natural date order is good enough for me.
    My favourite dianthus are Doris and Fette's Mount

    1. I looked up your favorite ones. They are very nice, especially Doris. I used to have Mrs Sinkins which was a beauty. As for sorting, I put them in alphabetical order (for example I have a DI file where the dianthus are).

  3. I love dianthus especially perfumed varieties, I've seen ts of the unidentified one in nurseries but have no idea of the name.

  4. Dianthus are beautiful flowers. I especially love the rich-coloured stranger in the people pot. But basic soil and lots of sunshine? No wonder I can't grow them. Will have to content myself with viewing yours!

  5. I can just picture all those pinks around your place on the limestone. We have a few that survive in our scree garden. As for sorting photos, I share the challenge. In the last six months I've gotten so seriously into photography I have thousands of pictures. I'm glad I've invested in Lightroom and I'm starting to find my way around in it. You can tag any one photo under multiple collections, though they all stay in the original files by date. I put mine in files for each month. So for example I can now look at all my photos of ferns over several years with one click of the mouse. Summer (well spring, summer and fall) is the time to take pix; winter is for sorting and writing.

  6. Very pretty, especially the nameless, short-lived one in the pot. I love dianthus but, alas, have had little success with them as a general rule. Maybe I should just look upon them as annuals - that way I won't be disappointed.

  7. Remember that there are many things you can grow which I would like to be able to grow. Each garden has its successes and failures. You are right about treating them as annuals, that is how i treat the fancy cultivars and sometimes they surprise me by coming back.

  8. Those flowers look so dainty, fragile and wild. I would name the unnamed one - pink of all pinks, but I'm no expert in all of this. Still wishing I had a big garden especially when I see pictures like this. One day mate, one day.

  9. I think I like the white one best. A useful plant, I don't have any but there are some hot dry edges where they would fit well.


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