My newest burgundy plant to flower is Dianthus barbatus ‘Sooty’, commonly known as Sweet William Sooty. I planted it last summer and have been enjoying its burgundy-green foliage, but over the last week it has flowered and now I am really enjoying it. First, it unfurled a collection of spiky burgundy flowerheads. Then, one by one, buds began to open into wee dark flowers and now I have clusters of them. They are like rich burgundy velvet, and look particularly fetching next to the bronze tones of Carex buchananii (Buchanan’s Sedge).

I was supposed to have a few Sooty plants in the garden here, but due to a slight watering disaster while I was on holiday, only two survived; this one, which I planted before I left, and one potted seedling that was still clinging to life when I got home. He’s a lot better now and will be coming with me to Hamilton.

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