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Graham Rice on Trials

Updates on trials and awards from the Royal Horticultural Society by Graham Rice

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Late flowering pinks

Posted by Graham Rice on 23 Sep 2009 at 08:39 AM

Dianthus 'Gran's Favourite' - still flowering in mid September. Image: ©Whetman PinksOne of the benefits of looking over the trials regularly through the season is that it's possible to pick up points that would be missed by simply checking the trials while they're at their most colourful. So the other day I cast my eye over the trials of pinks, three months after their peak flowering period, to see which varieties were still performing well.

In general it was very obvious that the dwarf pinks, most of which are relatively new varieties, had far fewer flowers than the garden pinks - most of which have been around for a few years.

So the two with the most impact at this late point in the pinks season were ‘Gran's Favourite' (above) and ‘Houndspool Ruby' (below left), both well known varieties and both already holding the Award of Garden Merit.

Dianthus 'Houndspool Ruby' - still flowering in mid September. Image: ©Whetman PinksOthers that stood out were ‘Doris', ‘Moulin Rouge' and ‘Valda Wyatt' - again all three already hold the Award of Garden Merit and I expect that these long flowering qualities have already been noticed by the experts who've been assessing this trial over the years.

As I say, the more modern dwarf pinks were less impressive this month compared with June and July but the three that featured the most flowers were ‘Red Star', ‘Passion' and ‘Starburst'

But the lesson seems clear. If you'd like to have pinks which are not only covered with flower in their peak period in early summer but which carry on their display into the autumn, choose AGM winning garden pinks like ‘Gran's Favourite' and ‘Houndspool Ruby'. But remember too: all pinks will flower more prolifically if regularly dead-headed



Diane Whitehead said:

Are the trial plants regularly dead-headed?

on 25 Sep 2009 at 09:11 PM

Graham Rice said:

I've just been looking at them yesterday, and talking with the trials staff, and found that they were dead headed carefully by hand in their peak flowering season and then later in the season were simply clipped over with shears as a labour-saving way of dead-heading them.

on 30 Sep 2009 at 09:06 AM