Plant of the Week: Bath’s Hardy Pinks
Carnations have always been among my favorite florist crops. In fact, when I began graduate school at Colorado State University I was doing breeding work with carnations – and loving it. That was a long time ago, back when Denver was the center of carnation production, before it all moved to the mountains of South America.
But what does that have to do with this little jewel, Bath’s hardy pinks? It’s because this is an outdoor sister to florist carnations. Discovered by, and named for Jane Bath of Stone Mountain, GA, it’s a selection of Dianthus gratianopolitanus (cheddar pinks). (Editor’s note: that species name looks like some botanist wanted to play a cruel joke on the 8 a.m. class of first-year horticulturists. I know, because I’ve been there!)
Details on Bath’s hardy pinks…
• Does well in full sun or morning sun.
• Does best in well-prepared garden soil that’s high in organic matter and kept uniformly moist.
• Winter-hardy from Texas clear into Canada.
• Summer-hardy from Canada clear into Texas!
• Blue-green, fine-textured foliage is attractive year-round.
• Flowers in mid-spring with single lavender-pink, quarter-sized blooms.
• Extremely fragrant; clove-like aroma.
• Grows to 6 or 7 inches tall when in bloom.
• Propagated by division. Stems root where they touch loose soil.
• Often found in better nurseries, but supplies sell out quickly. Call ahead and shop frequently.