It has been some time since we have been able to shout about them, but after working hard to re-build our stock levels we are pleased to announce we have Border Carnations available again – although still in limited numbers we hope to continue building our stock levels to be able to offer more as demand dictates.
For those of you who don’t know what the fuss is all about let me try and enlighten you on the wonderful world of Border Carnations.
Border carnations descend directly from the species Dianthus Caryophyllua, and are the only truly hardy carnation for growing in the open garden. They came into England from the continent around 4 to 5 centuries ago and with successive breeding have developed into the varieties we have today.
In the 19th Century borders came into their own when they were bred almost entirely for showing and the amazing range of colours, bizarres, flakes and picottees came into force. Alongside being grown for exhibitions they were prodomintenly grown in Victorian gardens, with the big country estates having borders full of these.
Being completely hardy, border carnations have no need of a heated greenhouse, they do best in an open, sunny, well drained position, but don’t leave them to dry out too much in the growing season. The cultural requirements are simple and therefore anyone with a garden can grow them. Grown in an unheated greenhouse for exhibition, they make an interesting and rewarding hobby with many winning on the show benches! They generally flower from May to July and will require supporting.
Our tried and tested plants supports were specifically designed by our founder Montaqu Allwood to aid in the supporting of Carnation flowers, and we still sell and use them to this day!!
So why are they not more widely grown? Well as with many plants throughout history, other plants have come along that are easier to grow, produce more flowers, colour fashions change, peoples growing habits change and traditional plants are either lost or only kept going by specialist nurseries – like us.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) used to hold trials for them but no longer do so and as with anything that is no longer in the public eye, people forget about them and that is kind of what has happened with Borders, which is such a shame as Borders have stood the test of time – they are the Rolls Royce of the Carnation world and they deserve to be put back into the public eye which is why we we want to shout out that we are able to offer these for sale again.
Page from Allwoods 1924-5 Catalogue
So why grow them today? These days, Borders are mostly grown by keen amateur growers, who maybe show them and it is not surprising that they do exhibit them as they make excellent show flowers and often win on the show bench, with their beautiful showy blooms and colours. If growing for exhibition it is best to grow them in either a cold frame or greenhouse so the blooms can be protected and they can make excellent pot plants. They will require dis-budding to give bigger individual blooms for showing otherwise if you are growing for your own enjoyment you can leave all the side buds to develop and they will flower more like a spray carnation.
Being completely hardy, border carnations have no need of a heated greenhouse, they do best in an open, sunny, well drained position. The cultural requirements are simple and therefore anyone with a garden can grow them. Grown in an unheated greenhouse for exhibition, they make an interesting and rewarding hobby with many winning on the show benches! If growing for exhibition they will require dis-budding to give bigger individual blooms, otherwise you can leave all the side buds to develop and they will flower more like a spray carnation. They generally flower from May to July and will require supporting our tried and tested plant supports are ideal for this. But it is not just about showing them, the flowers on Border Carnations are truly outstanding, there are not many (if any) plants that have such a spectrum of colours and it is clear to see why they are classed as the best, but…
Of course there is always a but, and it is this, Borders need some care and attention, they cannot be put in the ground and forgotten about, they are not as vigorous as the more modern greenhouse carnations that are grown for cut flowers, they don’t have a long flowering period but that aside, if you want to grow something different, something truly beautiful then these are the plants! They really are the most alluring Dianthus, truly the plant of the Gods. The genus Dianthus has been known as early as 300BC the genus was given the name Dianthus from the Greek ‘Dios’ which means divine and ‘anthos’ meaning a flower – which is why they are also known as The Divine Flower.
So there you go, that is why we grow them, the scent is amazing and the colours…. magnificent! I could rave on and on about them, but now it is down to you to maybe give them a try?!
Happy growing and thanks for reading.
If you would like to give them a try, here is a quick link to our website: CLICK HERE