Fill your garden with the rich, clove-like scent of pinks, sweet Williams and carnations.
Pinks (Dianthus) get their name from the serrated edge of the petals, which look as though they’ve been delicately trimmed with pinking shears.
The group includes lots of charming species and cultivars in shades of purple, red and white, as well as pink. Other dianthus to grow include sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus) and carnations, but it’s pinks that produce the gorgeous clove-like scent, which is particularly noticeable on warm summer evenings.
While they’re generally smaller in stature, pinks are tough plants that can withstand baking hot summers and chilly winters. Most are happy growing in full sun, in well-drained soil.
As an alpine pink, ‘Red Dwarf’ is a robust, mat-forming perennial suited to growing in very-well drained soil in beds, borders or containers. This variety has raspberry-pink flowers, deep crimson at the centre that appear from late spring to early autumn.
Height x spread: 10cm x 30cm.
With double, white blooms that release a fruity aroma, ‘Memories’ is a great choice for a twilight or moon garden.
H x S: 30cm x 30cm.
‘Sugar Plum’ is a striking variety with double, hot pink flowers edged with creamy pink. Richly scented, it grows to form a mound of glaucous foliage and summer blooms.
H x S: 40cm x 30cm.
Like ‘Red Dwarf’, ‘Pop Star’ is an alpine variety with baby pink, clove-scented flowers. The deeply fringed petals make this a particularly eye-catching variety.
H x S: 10cm x 15cm.
As the name suggests, ‘Candy Floss’ has bright pink, double flowers with a sweet fragrance. Plant it in containers or borders near paths or seating areas to make the most of the fragrance.
H x S: 30cm x 30cm.
This stunning variety has pure white, single flowers with a pink, halo-like ‘eye’ in the centre. Reaching up to 5cm in diameter, the flowers are relatively large for a pink and have a delicious fragrance.
H x S: 45cm x 35cm.
Pinks can be short-lived – fortunately they’re very easy to propagate from strong, unflowered shoots called ‘pipings’ in early summer. Do this each year to ensure you have a regular supply of free plants.