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Carnations and PinksBOOK REVIEWS

Carnations and Pinks
A New Zealand Gardener's Guide

Pamela McGeorge & Dr Keith Hammett
David Bateman

THE latest in the successful New Zealand Gardener's Guide series, Carnations and Pinks is written for local conditions, offering practical advice alongside beautiful photographs of this enormous family of popular garden plants.

The text is informative and authoritative, combining the talents of well-known gardening writer Pamela McGeorge and leading plant breeder Dr Keith Hammett. Dr Hammett's sweet peas, dahlias, carnations and pinks have proved very popular with gardeners here and overseas - his compact, repeat-flowering pinks are also widely grown in Australia, North America and the UK.

Carnations and Pinks details the history of these showy plants, discusses new cultivars and shows how to display them indoors, with extensive advice on cultivation, propagation, hybridising, pests, diseases and disorders.

There's a chapter on carnations as cut flowers which reveals the intriguing history of how they came to be so popular in the United States (carnations are the state flower of Ohio).

President McKinley wore a scarlet carnation in his buttonhole as a talisman during the campaign that led to his election as US President in 1896. "In 1901, McKinley attended the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, wearing as usual his scarlet buttonhole. A little girl, in the receiving line to meet the President, confided to him that her schoolmates would have trouble believing that he had actually shaken her hand. 'Take my carnation,' he said, unpinning it from his lapel. 'Show it to them and they'll know you were telling the truth.' The little girl walked away with the well-known talisman as the man next in line to greet the President pulled out a gun and shot him."

This is just one of numerous fascinating facts included in this useful book. Carnations and Pinks is a worthy investment for anyone keen to try their hand at growing dianthus.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 99, May 23-June 5, 2002, Page 28

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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