Dianthus (aka Wild Carnation) has been a part of the English garden since the Norman Invasion (circa 1066).
“One such invader was the Wild Carnation or Clove Pink, Dianthus caryophyllus, and the other was the wallflower… Pliny wrote of the discovery of the Dianthus, which was found over 2,000 years ago in southern Spain…. It is thought that the seeds of both plants may have been carried to this country [Great Britain] with the building stone brought over from Caen for the construction of William’s new castles. Certainly the Clove Pink is still often associated with Norman buildings and ruins, and it is recorded that it was growing on the walls of William the Conqueror’s castle as Falaise well into the nineteenth century.” (Maggie Campbell-Culver, The Origin of Plants, p.51)
- Hardy evergreen perennial with an upright habit. This variety from Japan forms a clump of grey-green foliage with long summer displays of fragrant deep pink blooms.
- “Kahori” means fragrance in Japanese.
- Considered ‘Border Pinks’, dianthus are a favourite for planting in rock gardens or border edging. Dianthus combines beautifully with other low alpine plants.
- Prefers full sun. Grows 10 cm high. Plant can spread 8-12 inches (20-30 cm).
- Plants require good drainage and are an excellent choice for hot dry sites or gravelly soils.
- Water well and use soil improver and bone meal when planting.
- Flowers May, June, July.
- Shear plants back lightly after blooming to maintain a tight, compact habit.
- Attractive to butterflies.
I planted several clumps of Dianthus Kahori into the allotment on 7 July 2018 in high heat, but watered well into a permanent perennial flower bed (leading into allotment plot from the boundary and rose arbour).
These were transplanted from the bed (along with the virginicum) to create a new salad bed in April 2020; I moved them to the other side of the rose arbor at the front (facing towards R’s), and also into the side herb bed where the marjoram is planted (by the concrete path marking the boundary to R’s plot). Interestingly, the plants in full sun have done less well whereas the originally planted clump of dianthus planted under the arbour has done very well and is flowering well into the start of June 2020.