Name: Dianthus, its
botanical name, means divine flower. Carnation was the flesh-pink colour Elizabethan
portrait painters used as a background wash.
The carnation is available as a standard carnation - one large flower per
stem, or a spray carnation with lots of smaller flowers.
Colour: Available in a huge range of colours, almost all except blue. A
mauve carnation with a blue tinge has been developed by Florigene in Australia.
But they look best in hot Latin shades of red, pink and orange.
All year round.
New varieties have been bred which look like old-fashioned garden pinks, but in
bright colours. They have daintier relatives, the fantastically fragrant Sweet
Williams and Pinks.
Care Tips: Carnations can
last up to three weeks but should be kept away from ripening fruit and vegetables
because of ethylene gas.
Carnations are the UK's best-selling cut flower, by miles. They are an excellent
cut-flower, great value, very long-lasting, Since the 1950's they have been frowned
upon by the style gurus, but are now making a comeback.
Folklore: Used on mothering Sunday. In Canada
you wear a red flower if your mother is alive or a white flower if your mother
Language of Flowers:
Red carnation for "alas for my poor heart", striped for refusal,
yellow for disdain, pink for woman's love.