About Good Scents

The cut flower business ended in 2011 but I continue to post other items about gardening.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Selecting Sweet William Strains

I mentioned last year that I really love Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus). I grow several different seed strains - white, scarlet, "black", salmon as well as a double strain called 'Duplex' and an auricle eyed strain called "Electron".
Last year I noticed a couple of the 'Electron' plants were white with a purple eye. Most of the time they are white with a red eye, or pink with red. I decided to try saving seed from the purple ones and about 50% of the resulting plants bloomed with purple eyes. This is not surprising since they were in with all the other ones and would have crossed with them. I planted the purple eyed plants apart from the others this time and removed all the non-purple ones when they bloomed, so hopefully the seed I save this year will be truer. Here is how the purple eyed ones look. Some are dark purple but one has more like purple brush strokes.

Saving seed and making repeated selections like this is how all heirloom seed strains are created, so this year I'm going to pick out a few more. One is a dark red - not as dark as the 'black' strain, but a deep maroon. The other other is a purple double.

The red eyed flower to the lower right of the dark red gives you an idea of just how purple the purple eyed ones really are. The double purple is not as double as some of them, but the color is fairly unusual.

No comments: