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Breeders of the sixteenth century developed the Carnation. This common name is a permutation of "coronation," as it was traditionally used in making garlands and coronets. Also referred to as Pinks for at least 600 years, the flower gave its name to the color--not, as is commonly surmised, the color to the flower. Dianthus are frequently found in Shakespeare as Gillyflower, a corruption of "July-flower", in reference to the time of their optimal flowers.
Having so clearly captivated gardeners throughout time, the 80 species of this genus still exude their charm and fragrance today, making an agreeable addition to any garden.
The best known Dianthus is the Carnation. Of more interest to gardeners are the Pinks, with their compact mounds of grasslike foliage and masses of colorful, early summer blooms.