Dianthus love: back in the garden

Sir, the year growing ancient,
Not yet on summer’s death, nor on the birth
Of trembling winter, the fairest
flowers o’ the season
Are our carnations and streak’d gillyvors,
Which some call nature’s bastards: of that kind
Our rustic garden’s barren; and I care not
To get slips of them.
– William Shakespeare, English poet, playwright, and actor, from The Winter’s Tale

This past Memorial Day weekend was filled with research, youth baseball, and gardening – a healthy balance of all three. On Saturday, I took a break from watching my son play and focused on reading my research materials. I then took a break from research and made a bouquet for my friend Raissa.

Different kinds of flowers abound in this bouquet: the first gladiola, Bird of Paradise, hydrangea, alstroemeria, dahlia, scabiosa anthemifolia, and fern.

Different kinds of flowers abound in this bouquet: the first gladiola, dianthus, Bird of Paradise, hydrangea, alstroemeria, dahlia, scabiosa anthemifolia, a succulent, and fern.

I was so enthralled with my dianthus caryophyllus (otherwise known as a carnation) “Chomley Farran,” which has given me such beautiful blooms this spring (in fact, I don’t think it gave me much of anything the last number of years), that I was obsessed with planting more in my garden. I only have two dianthus flowers in the side yard.

Welcome to Annie's Annuals!

Welcome to Annie’s Annuals!

So off Isabella and I went to Annie’s Annuals (740 Market Avenue, Richmond, CA 94801, 510.215.3301). I made a beeline for the dianthus alley and scooped up six varieties: more “Chomley Farran,” dianthus caryophyllus “Ric Rac”; and dianthus perpetual carnation “John Barrington’s Bliss,” “Mad Hatter,” “White Rabbit,” and “Queen of Hearts.” Of course, we had to linger and check out the chickens, the other flowers, the garden ornaments, and compost.

A concrete structure decorated with found art at Annie's Annuals.

A concrete structure decorated with found art at Annie’s Annuals.

One of the women working at Annie’s Annuals told me I may see a few blooms from my tiny dianthus plants, if I’m lucky. More likely, my flowers will bloom next season. I’m an impatient gardener, but there will be plenty of other flowers to tend to this summer.

You can literally get lost in the rows and plants at Annie's Annuals.

You can literally get lost in the rows and plants at Annie’s Annuals.

My friend Lauren Ari's artwork throughout Annie's Annuals.

My friend Lauren Ari’s artwork throughout Annie’s Annuals.

I spent Sunday afternoon moving concrete pots that had been empty for years from various points in the backyard to a corner of the yard, filling the pots up and amending the soil, and finally putting the new plants in their new homes. I call it my dianthus garden. As I turned the soil over, mixing compost with clay soil, I felt refreshed. It has been a long time since I spent this much time working on the garden, planting plants as opposed to weeding and tidying up the side yard. Garden fever has struck. Dianthus love erupted. I look forward to my new favorite flower. I’ll get a few this season, but anticipate bouquets upon bouquets next summer. Welcome dianthus garden!

My new dianthus garden in a corner of the backyard, with poppies and an unknown plant.

My new dianthus garden in a corner of the backyard, with poppies and an unknown plant.

  • Susie

    Love Annie’s Annuals – not a better nursery anywhere! Dianthus in all their large and small forms are gorgeous – can’t wait to see photos of your Dianthus corner in full bloom.

  • Patty

    I’ll be happy with a handful of blooms this year! But always nice to have something to look forward to next spring.