Monday, January 30, 2006

2006 Perennial of the Year: Dianthus Firewitch

I first fell in love with pinks at an office park. The landscape company used them to ring a flower bed and they were absolutely breathtaking. After they bloomed, some of us were hoping that they would be dug up and discarded (as is usually the case in commercial office park’s season landscaping plans – out with the old, in with the new) -- and we could give them permanent homes in our gardens. However these pinks remained and their blue-gray evergreen foliage were a pleasure to look at as we trudged past them every day.

This year the perennial plant association has named a pink as the perennial plant of the year for 2006: Dianthus gratianopolitanus “Feuerhexe’ (Firewitch). Here’s what they say about it:

"Dianthus gratianopolitanus “Feuerhexe’ (Firewitch) is a low growing, mat-forming alpine plant with narrow bluish-gray foliage that remains evergreen. Brilliant purplish-pink flowers cover the plant at bloom time. The flower color has also been variously described at hot pink or purple red or magenta. The color combination of the foliage and flower is striking at peak bloom in id-spring. And if that weren’t enough, the air becomes performed from the scented flowers which have a spicy and clove-like fragrance. Peak bloom is mid-to-late spring with rebloom occurring in the summer and fall especially when the spent flowers are removed. The foliage height is 3 to 4 inches with flower stems reaching to 8 inches. This favorite Cheddar pink is hardy from USDA zones of 3 to 9."

If you've only had Bath's Pink in your garden up until now, find some room for Firewitch -- it's going to cast a spell on gardeners everywhere this year.

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