The Perfect Pansy Pal and Cut Flower for Sharing
By Norman Winter
As we start the new year, many are focusing on giving. Giving encompasses more than writing a check. In the garden world, giving might include planting a row of extra vegetables for food pantries or it might be as simple as sharing cut flowers from the garden with your neighbor. There is something a little extra special about cutting from your own garden and sharing with others, it can be a blessing to both gardener and recipient.
We find ourselves in the midst of our cool season garden landscape. If you procrastinated because of the busy fall season, you might be looking for flowers that will carry you into summer. Among the best are special dianthus varieties. They offer color, fragrance, and a bounty of cuts for the vase.
If you’re looking for a pansy pal with perennial performance, the Bouquet dianthus series is my choice.
There is something a little extra special about cutting from your own garden and sharing with others, it can be a blessing to both gardener and recipient.
First in the series was Bouquet Purple. To the pansy pal market, it was an electrifying shot of energy. Forget the color purple, it’s a shocking iridescent hot pink that will dazzle in any landscape.
Bouquet Purple was selected as a Mississippi Medallion winner when I was with Mississippi State University. In that same year, it won the Minnesota Select Perennial Plant of the Year. Such a recognition says something about the perseverance of this flower.
Next in the series came Bouquet Rose Magic, followed by Bouquet Rose. Bouquet Rose Magic blooms open white and mature to light pink, then a deep rose color. One flower stalk may contain all of these colors at once.
The Bouquet series of dianthus represents the best in a hybrid. They are vigorous, reaching 18 to 24 inches tall and they’re born to bloom. Though I’m touting them as a cool weather pansy pal, they’ll bloom most of the summer in the hot, humid south. Followed by a short rest, they’ll get ready for the show to start again in the fall.
I’ve seen them as a stunning companion with Early Sunrise coreopsis and the Bouquet Rose forms the perfect marriage with Zahara Starlight Rose zinnia. No matter what you pair them with, the result is always the same-beautiful.
One thing it took me a while to notice was their ability to bring in butterflies. In the past, we’ve planted Bouquet Purple with blue and violet shades of violas and the architectural foliage of cardoon and kale. As the dianthus begins to open, the butterflies come to feast. I’ve even witnessed two or three feeding on a cluster of blooms at the same time.
Another group I treasure for cut flowers is the Amazon series. It was selected as the ‘Cut Flower of the Year’ by the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. It’s available in selections like Cherry, Purple, Neon Duo and Rose Magic.
I hope you will give dianthus a try and share your blooms with those around you. Follow Norman Winter “The Garden Guy” on Facebook.