Dianthus superbus …

I am beginning to wonder if my neighbours are noticing my frequent jaunts to the front flowerbed where I bury my face in the wonderful scents of this Pink. I cannot even begin to describe its scent. I have written about it before here and here. Of the plants in bloom, three are sporting white blossoms while the others are a lovely lavender colour.

It is not a commonly-grown Pink, although it is incredibly hardy and easy to grow from seed. The flowers are deeply fringed and, to my mind, some of the most beautiful that I have known.

These Pinks are indigenous to Europe and Japan. It wasn’t a big surprise to discover that they are included as one of the seven plants of autumn beloved by the Japanese and immortalized in Japanese poetry many centuries ago.

Although these flowers are summer blooming, I suspect they also have a second flush of bloom in the autumn.

aki no no ni
sakitaru hana o
yubi orite
kaki kazoureba
nana kusa no hana.
hagi ga hana
obana kuzubana
nadeshiko no hana
mata fujibakama
asagao no hana.


Flowers blossoming
in autumn fields –
when I count them on my fingers
they then number seven
The flowers of bush clover,
eulalia, arrowroot,
pink, patrinia,
also, mistflower
and morning faces flower.

Yamanoue Okura (C. 660 – 733)

Known as Nadeshiko in Japanese, Dianthus superbus is translated loosely as an affectionate touch of a pretty child. I think this is a fitting description. It would be near impossible for one’s senses not to be moved by this flower.

27 thoughts on “Dianthus superbus …

  1. Dianthus are a big favorite of mine too. There are so many different types and they are so hardy.I love the scent too. Unfortunately, the larger flowered, newer varieties don’t have much of a fragrance compared to older types. But both kinds are lovely.A week ago, just as a large group of mine were ready to open, the deer came at night and ate all of the flower buds! They are also a favorite in the animal world! I wonder if they are edible for humans – probably. I have more in other spots, luckily.The poem is lovely and the Japanese name is so descriptive and brings such a picture to my mind.

  2. The feathery flowers look so refreshing and airy. Mine are nowhere near blooming yet, and now Alyssa writes that the deer like them. Uh oh.

  3. Gorgeous pink, Kate. I don’t think I’ve grown this one, though we have some garden variety pinks out there that are delightfully spicy. I’ll have to look for this in my travels.

  4. Gosh, what a beautiful and different looking flower. And it’s fragrant too. Lovely

  5. What a gorgeous flower and a very sweet poem. I liked reading it in Japanese too…strangely beautiful even though I couldn’t understand the words.

  6. Beautiful, Kate. I wish I could smell their wonderful fragrance. I, too, enjoyed seeing the Japanese words, and the description.

  7. LOL Kate at the thought of you nose deep, all day long, in the flower! I can’t blame you though. They do have such a heady scent!

  8. Cool dianthus – I’ve never seen this one – I like it a lot. And great smell is always a bonus! Thanks, I’m going to have to see if it will grow here.

  9. I have a pink one like this, Kate, and it’s my very favorite! ‘Hawera’, I believe, is the cultivar name. I’ll have to check.’First Love’ is a new one I got this year, and it’s similar, but not quite as deeply lobed, though highly fringed.These are much taller than the usual dianthus, too. I just love them, and your white one is gorgeous.

  10. Hi Kate! Now I need to find some Pink to smell — I’m not sure if I ever have before. The flowers look so beautiful, and I love the description as “the affectionate touch of a pretty child”– so sweet. Thank you for including the Japanese poetry! The names of the flowers in it are wonderful, especially mistflower and morning faces flower — the latter one cracks me up. Oh, Kate, I also really like the pretty colors in your profile photo — I miss seeing your face, though!,but these colors are really nice, too.

  11. I love the perfume too. It is such a virginal looking flower, so white, so pure. Great poem too.

  12. How sweet – gentle, lace, kisses on your cheek. Love that delicate look. You need to learn how to post a “scratch and sniff” post :o)

  13. I checked my tag on my dianthus and it’s ‘Kawara’, which is D. superbus. Mine is a mix, so it’s a couple of shades of pink, as well as white. It reseeds wonderfully!

  14. I read your post and I suddenly realized that I need more Dianthus in my gardens! I only have a sweet william, and I have suddenly conceived a desire for a deeply fringed and graceful pink with an amazing scent. I’m sure my nursery man is going to be happy to see me!

  15. I have enjoyed your blog so much, thank you. I have tagged you for a game that is going around – 5 things you like to do to raise your vibe. If you want to play, directions to the rules are on my blog. . .

  16. What a lovely flower! I don’t think I’ve ever come across this pink before

  17. This dianthus looks so lovely, and your post makes me want to grow it, Kate. The cultural requirements look pretty difficult for Texas, however – so as Mary suggested – we need scratch and sniff for the internet. Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  18. hi Kate, had to lookup the German name of the plant ->Prachtnelke. Beautiful flower. I wonder if I have ever seen it over here. Great photograph by the way. Ok.. gotta run to the doctor. Hope you are well. Andrea

  19. I had no idea there was a Dianthus like this. I would have thought it was some sort of spider lily. I wonder if we could grow it in TX? Thanks for sharing the poem, as well. Have a great week!

  20. Very lovely flower and poetry. I should look for the seed if they are so easy to grow and fragrant too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s