Carpeting blooms so divine,
They named them Flower of God.
Clearly beyond pink. Just look at the brilliance of that bloom. Imagine a perennial plant forming a sliver blue carpet covered with hundreds of the scented flowers of the new Dianthus gratianopolitanus ‘St. Benedict’ in spring. Against the uniquely blue foliage, a mass of these petals offers your garden quite an arresting show. An instant pairing of glorious color springs to mind, I can see the low sweep of these spicy little blooms in front of Gold Variegated Iris (Iris pallida ‘Aureo Variegata’).
Quite an amazing spring rock garden scene would be created with two of these perennial plants, and such a planting situation does both of them justice. St. Benedictine Dianthus, like all Cheddar Pinks, is an excellent easy to grow pink flowering perennial that forms a low mat that is a lovely color both in and out of bloom. While the silvery blue grass-like foliage is not quite as dramatic as those late spring flowers, you will find that it makes a lovely unique note amidst many greener leaved plants in the garden.
If you are wondering where the ‘Flower of God’ comes from, Dianthus is the combination of the Greek words for flower and god. We shouldn’t be surprised; the sight of Cheddar Pinks in bloom during May to June really is quite heavenly. Other forms of Dianthus are known as Sweet William and Cottage Pinks. Dianthus gratianopolitanus is a different variety than either of them and imparts a spicier scent much like cloves. The common name of Cheddar Pinks comes from their source of origination, an area known as Cheddar Gorge in southwest England where they grow in wild, natural abandon.
For best vigor and beauty, St. Benedictine Dianthus requires excellent drainage and soil with a 6.6-7.8 pH level. If your soil is more acidic, you can bring it into the desirable balance with periodic additions of lime. You want a full sun spot for this alpine style glory of spring. The more silvered than most foliage of St. Benedictine reaches 6 inches tall and forms a 12 inch wide clump. The splendid almost beyond pink blooms appear on stems no taller than 8 inches. Blooms measure 1” wide with 4-5 serrated edge petals.
St. Benedictine Dianthus is hardy for zones 5-10 and being introduced to the world by Intrinsic Perennial Gardens. For those of you living in the deeper reaches of the hardiness zones, you will do best to give Dianthus filtered shade. St. Benedictine is really a lovely little source of early season vibrant color well worth a spot in the landscape and garden.
For professional growers seeking more information on the plant, visit Intrinsic Introductions.
Images courtesy of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens.