Sweet William great flowers for fall, spring

Courtesy Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) and a visitor enjoy a fall day.

Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) has been grown for centuries by gardeners the world over.

There are more than 300 species of dianthus, also known as "pinks," all of which have marvelous characteristics that charm gardeners everywhere. This particular Dianthus is a variety called "neon lights." We have had it in our gardens for at least three years and absolutely love it.

Just look at how the cluster of flowers stand upon a long stem, obviously a great cut flower, and take notice of how our little visiting butterflies love it, too. Neon lights comes in pinks, reds and white and all are beautiful. The Barbatus types are biennials, which means they bloom the second year, but local nurseries have them for you to enjoy without the wait.

Dianthus are wonderful flowers for fall and spring color, often blooming all winter. Give them good, well-drained soil and plenty of sunshine, and they will provide beautiful color and fragrance. Cut a stem or two to bring inside so you can admire the lovely flowers and enjoy the heavenly aroma. Most dianthus have the marvelous carnation smell, for carnations and dianthus are all in the same big family.

Come to our gardens and take special notice of the several species of the dianthus family we have growing. Some are perennial, some are annual, and some like these pretty little barbatus types are biennial. All are welcome in our garden and loved by all, butterflies included.