Meadowmat wildflower species: Maiden pink
The maiden pink, or Dianthus deltoides, is a pretty, evergreen wild flower which covers the ground with a low matting that looks attractive all year round. These plants are excellent to use when creating a cottage garden as they are bright and long-flowering. The plants grow roughly 10 to 20cm tall on a slender stem, and when there are several flowering plants in a tuft, they look very striking indeed.
This cheerful pink wildflower is a British native species and can be found in most parts of England and Wales, and some parts of southern Scotland. The maiden pink grows on stony ground, on hillsides, beside roads and in meadows and is able to survive prolonged dry periods. For these reasons, it is often used in garden rockeries and in hilly places where the moisture in the soil is quite low.
What do Maiden pink flowers look like?
Showy enough to cheer up any area of the garden, maiden pinks have hot pink flowers which seem to endlessly bloom from June to September. A member of the Caryophyllaceae family, the maiden pink gets its common name from the jagged edges of the delicate petals produced - they look as if they have been cut with ‘pinking sheers’.
It's possible to display these plants indoors in a vase or a jam jar and use them as cut flowers for an informal setting. The attractiveness of the plant suggests that it would have a strong perfume, but in fact it has no fragrance at all.
Plants for butterflies and and bees
The maiden pink plant is very attractive to butterflies and these insects are the main pollinators, although the occasional bee and hoverfly may also visit. Dianthus deltoides are self seeding and if the plants are sheered after the seeds have formed, new plants can grow in moist conditions. The greyish green leaves are stalkless and form on slender stems. These leaves stay green all year around, so any Meadowmat with this in it will look lush and dense, even in the winter months.
The maiden pink blends in beautifully with other meadow plants that are on the RHS Perfect for Pollinators list, and when grown alongside wildflowers that attract a lot of bees, the wildlife that will visit will be diverse and healthy.
A little known fact about the maiden pink: it is the county flower for Roxburghshire in Scotland.