Carnation and Pinks ,Get to know your garden intimately series-part 10

Carnation s and pinks. below Dianthus caryophyllus

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Introduction

This series is aimed at the beginner to gardening and those who are not sure which plants to grow where. We have already covered in this series subjects such as Soils and Situations {part 1},Acidic and Clay soils {2},Dry soils {5},Sandy soils {3}.Moist soils {4} Sowing seeds and transplanting {6}. Preparing Herbacious borders {7} Bedding plants{8} . Container grown plants{9}.

Here in part ten we look at the first of the individual plants you may wish to try to grow,and will contain tips and advise on their horticulture. we commence our look at individual species by exploring the familiar flowers know commonly as Carnations and Pinks. They belong to the Dianthus genus of plants.

Pink Carnation

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A little Historical information

Great advances were made during the late 1800's as regards raising Carnations. Prior to this period varieties were restricted and most were not hardy enough for garden beds easily killed by frosts. Amateur gardeners {as opposed to skilled plants-men} wanted a hardier type to grow in their borders,and, as usual,when demand is there,it is not long before a supply meets that demand.

There soon became a host of hardy Carnations that the lay gardener could procure for his borders. These included the popular 'Selfs' and 'Fancies' and new varieties of Malmaison Carnations were introduced. Many of them had rich and perfectly distinct colours. Carnations which include the Picotees, was one of the old fashioned flowers that never cease to please. Old authors such as Gerard and Parkinson wrote about these more than four hundred years ago. Shakespeare mentioned them in his plays,such as the 'Winters tale'. The love of Carnations and pinks has continued both for their past associations, their beauty and their fragrance.The Picotee varieties have flowers with edges of a different colour to the flowers base colour. The name derives from the French picote meaning marked with points.{ header photograph Dianthus caryophyllus.is an example}

Green Carnation

Originally posted to Flickr Uploaded to commons by Fg68at {talk}
Originally posted to Flickr Uploaded to commons by Fg68at {talk} | Source

The culture of Carnations and Pinks.

Carnations and pinks may be propagated by seed,layering,or cuttings {known as pipings,or slips}. The first method of seed was and is used to raise new varieties.Whether crossed pollinated or not,the Carnation is certain to vary very considerably from seed. Many of the seedlings, one will find are as good,or better than the parent pant, but many more will not be so good. Even if you collect the seed from the parent plant that has the finest double flowers,there will be a number of single flowered varieties among them -about 10%.

The flowers with single flowers will be pretty enough,but very fugacious {lasting only a short time},evidently because they fertilize so readily. there is much pleasure anticipating the flowering seedlings,especially if the flowers from which the seed was obtained had been cross fertilized. By far the best results may be expected from seed obtained by carefully transferring the pollen of one good variety to the stigma of another. However, the above mentioned is for the Nurseryman or experienced gardener,and as far as the layman is concerned,nearly all propagation {increasing stock}is achieved by layering or by cuttings.


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The method of layering

The task of layering is usually carried out in the autumn,as soon as the flowers have passed. Some fine soil is prepared while at the same time the soil should be removed from the base of the plant. The lower leaves should be removed from the growths clustering around the base of the flowering stems.

An incision with a sharp knife is made into the stem near a joint,which should be cut through but not cut off. This layer should then be pegged firmly into the soil. There are any such layers found at the base of one plant. These layerings will be ready to be severed from the parent plants six weeks after being pegged,when the roots have formed. They then can be planted into the garden or into pots to be kept in frames throughout the winter.,

Cutting or slip taken from parent plant

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Cuttings or slips

By far the easiest method of increasing your stock is by way of taking cuttings or slips.This is a good method to increase border Carnations and Pinks.Growth from higher up the plant should be cut off just below a joint {swollen part of the stem} see image above and to the right,and then placed in pots of compost or soil.if conditions are suitable they will be ready within six weeks.

This is the most convenient way for the beginner to increase their stock at very little cost.

After a three weeks or so the roots are showing signs of growth

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Cuttings in a pot

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Cuttings continued

You can also try,at no expense whatsoever, sticking the cuttings straight into the ground in a sheltered warm spot. If you place half a dozen cuttings into the ground and only half of them take root you have gained three new plants. If they all fail {and they rarely all do} you have gained nothing but lost nothing.

Planting out

The Carnation {and pinks} are perfectly hardy plants that will succeed in open borders of the flower garden,or in beds specially prepared for them. I was always taught to prepare the beds at least six weeks in advance so that the soil was left exposed to the sun and air. It was also recommended that a thin layer of decayed manure was put on the surface among the plants. {the modern day gardener has the alternative of being able to hoe in some slow release fertilizer,such as Fish Blood and Bone}.

If the plants are set out in beds they should be placed about fourteen inches apart.if the plants are in borders plant them three at a time in a triangular formation,about six inches apart.By placing them in this arrangement an impressive display of blooms is obtained. The time for planting is a debatable subject among gardeners. As regards cuttings and layers some say plant out as soon as the cuttings/layers have rooted,while others advocate planting out as late as November if the weather is favourable.

I have planted rooted cuttings out in September,October and November and did not observe any significant difference in their development. hence if the weather is favourable plant out to suit your requirements. Careful attention should be given to the task of watering throughout the season. Also keep an eye out for thrips and green fly,if they become established they can cause much damage and spread viruses and other diseases. Plants in Greenhouses are much more prone to attack than those planted outdoors.

Carnations .-Border Carnations are annuals or evergreen perennials that flower prolifically once midsummer arrives and are good as a border decorations and also for cut flowers.Each stem carries five or more often scented semi-double or double flowers up to three inches across {8 cm }. The perpetual flowering kinds are normally grown in greenhouses.They are tall and are disbudded to leave just one large terminal one to produce the flower. Border carnations are left to grow as nature intended them to do.

A display of mini carnations

Originally posted to Flickr,uploaded to Commons by Magnus Manske
Originally posted to Flickr,uploaded to Commons by Magnus Manske | Source

Moondust Was Produced By Genetic Engineering

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A look at the species and varieties.

Moon dust is a beautifully coloured Carnation who's colours were brought about by genetic engineering.

Dianthus caryophyllus,{See header photograph} sometimes alluded to as the 'Clove pink' is an herbacious perennial which attains the height of eighty centimetres. The foliage is greyish green to bluish green ,which are slender up to sixteen centimetres long. The flowers which are three to five centimetres in diameter were originally pink but cultivars come in many other colours including red,white,yellow and green.

A Look At the Pinks.-now we move on to the Pinks which are more delicate looking with flowers smaller but just as wonderful as those of the Carnations.They are all grown and cultivated in the same manner as described above so the varieties will be shown in image format, after all they say a picture speaks a thousand words.

Dianthus barbatus

This is a Sweet William species which compliments pinks in the borders.
This is a Sweet William species which compliments pinks in the borders. | Source

Dianthus brevicaulis

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Dianthus anatolicus

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Dianthus carthusianorum ssp carthusianorum

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Dianthus chinensis

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Seek advise.

The above images are there to inspire the budding gardener but there are many other varieties to be found. Ask at your nursery or garden centre for advise on which Dianthus varieties are available. Which ever you choose enjoy your gardening.

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8 comments

D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 15 months ago from Lancashire north west England Author

aviannovice,

Hi Deb, yes they are both one and the same family. Not sure about the Master Gardener tag though, but thanks for the thought.. Best wishes to you.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 16 months ago from Stillwater, OK

I have always liked the two-colored dianthus, but never knew that they were related to carnations. Guess I should have guessed! Informative, as always. Thanks so much, O Master Gardener!


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 16 months ago from Lancashire north west England Author

Tillsontitan,

Hi Mary, Thank you for your kind words and your Votes,much appreciated.Best wishes to you.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 16 months ago from New York

For some reason carnations don't do well here but dianthus thrive! They are so pretty and delicate.

You've certainly provided good information on the growth and care of both.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 16 months ago from Lancashire north west England Author

sallybea,

Hi Sally Thank you for your kind and appreciated words. Carnations and pinks are easy to grow and they are ideal for beginners {whom this series is for}.Thank you for your visit you are always appreciated here. Best wishes to you.

jandee,

Hi I am doing well thank you,hope you are enjoying your time in France. { including the weeding} . The weather should be better here on your return. Good to hear from you. Best wishes.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 16 months ago from Lancashire north west England Author

sallybea,

Hi Sally Thank you for your kind and appreciated words. Carnations and pinks are easy to grow and they are ideal for beginners {whom this series is for}.Thank you for your visit you are always appreciated here. Best wishes to you.

jandee,

Hi I am doing well thank you,hope you are enjoying your time in France. { including the weeding} . The weather should be better here on your return. Good to hear from you. Best wishes.


jandee profile image

jandee 16 months ago from Liverpool.U.K

Hello DAL,how pleased I am to see you writing . I don't come on the site often so hope all is improving for you.

I am in France at my brothers house,lovely sunshine but plenty of weeding,

best from jandee.


sallybea profile image

sallybea 16 months ago from Norfolk

D.A.L.

Goodmorning, I hope that things are good with you.

What a nice sight to greet my eyes this morning. I love carnations and have grown a number in my time. They are perhaps one of the easiest and most rewarding flowers to grow. You remind me that I should be tidying my own up and starting a few new plants as they can become shabby after a while.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Sally

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