Tag Archive | dianthus barbatus

April 25-May 1, 2022: Week 16 Garden in Review

We are in full swing spring bloom! Currently the work I am doing in the garden is simple maintenance. Weeding, fertilizing, trimming, deadheading, and watering have been the bulk of my to do list. We have a tent/garden party scheduled for May 7 and the goal is to have the garden in its best shape for it. Unfortunately, my irises are about a week ahead and the poppies are a week late, so there will be some bare spots in the landscape. I have been working very hard to keep up with the weeds. In addition, I have been using Scott’s Super Bloom fertilizer in every watering of pots and containers and window boxes to maximize the blooms. I believe that a healthy start assures a better bloom season. Once the containers are about a month old, I will fertilize once or twice a week.

Updates: The bog garden is slowly bouncing back and pitcher plants are forming roots. I still have one flat of winter started seedlings to find a home including scabiosa, salpiglossis, marigold, a six pack of vinca, and a few foxglove. I am still growing cleome, red and white double petunia, pineapple and chocolate mint coleus, zinnias, sunflower and silver falls dichondra.

New: This week a friend gifted me a Fleur Farm Dahlia gift certificate. I had watered her seedlings in her high tunnel a few weekends prior when she was out of town. While not necessary at all as she and I exchange plants often, it was a lovely gesture, I ordered 5 dahlia and am excited to see them in bloom. I ordered Zundert Mystery Fox, Jowey Martina, Arabian Night, Milena Fleur and Crème de Cassis. In addition to the dahlias I also ordered more dwarf zinnia seeds for the front of my summer borders from Swallowtail Seeds. I will start those as soon as they arrive. I love Zahara zinnias for their ability to fill containers, and spill, over the edge of my raised beds, so ordered a couple of those varieties.

All in all, the big work is winding down and the maintenance and enjoyment phase of the season is dialing up. Below are some photos of what bloomed this week:


Plant Spotlight in Brief: Dianthus Barbatus

Sweet William

Dianthus Barbatus, also known as Sweet William, holds a dear place in my heart. As a child we had a hillside covered in them! They would reseed and every year for a month in spring and it was gorgeous. I have clear memories of laying on the hillside surrounded by them daydreaming and looking at clouds. I had a idyllic rural childhood. It is no wonder that when I was an adult I seeded my own as soon as I had enough space. Little did I know- most Sweet William is biennial. I had an 18 month wait before my first blooms. Some Sweet William varieties do flower the first year so if you are impatient, look for the annuals and not the biennials. Sometimes the notation FYF (First Year Flowering) will be in the listing.

I enjoy Sweet William for it entire life cycle. It’s seedlings are sturdy, hardy and the small first year plants remain evergreen. If you seed every autumn, you only have to wait that arduous 18 months once as you are, in effect, queueing blooms every spring by seeding every fall. See the chart below.

Biennial Seed Start Example

As you can see from the chart, you are sowing seed while still waiting for the previous year’s plants to bloom. This can cause an issue with space in my garden, so on even years, I sow in the front of my raised beds, and on odd years, I sow in the back. That way, I have blooms every year somewhere!

Sweet William is a lovely flower with a scent that is unforgettable. I purchase my seed in bulk and highly recommend Wildseed Farms out of TX for their high germination rate and seed purity. I purchase the ounce and with dry, safe storage I can usually get 2 years of sowing out of it. The Wildseed Farm mix is gorgeous and the plants have a nice vase life. Below is just one small planting but as you can see, there is a range of bicolor and solid color plants ranging from deep read to white with some lavenders and pink as well. I highly suggest trying this beauty!

Wildseed Farms Sweet William in my Garden