07.18.2014 Deptford Pink

I am catching up here.  Some of you have already seen this image on Facebook, but I neglected it during my full moon posts.  It seemed short shrifting to shoehorn it in, so I’ve been keeping it at the ready.  Hopefully this weekend will see a lot of new entries, but for now here is something from two weeks ago.

Every time I find out that a favorite flower is an alien, it comes as a bit of a disappointment.  I am not sure why as they have been here longer than I, but something seems a bit more connected when the plant is native.  However, as I am all about showing the beauty of flowers, among other things, and it doesn’t matter in that respect whether something is a “weed”, an alien, invasive or native, here is Deptford Pink (Dianthus armeria).Deptford-Pink-2--070314-600WebThis one is just a tiny bit immature, like me, and probably was fully developed with the nice purple/pink anthers on display later that day.  At any stage, this is a lovely flower which I look for every year.  It is also fairly small, measuring approximately 3/8″/9.5mm in diameter.

About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Closeup Photography, Flora, Uncategorized, Western Massachusetts, Wildflowers and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to 07.18.2014 Deptford Pink

  1. It is a wonderful flower and photo, alien or not (many alien plants are, as lupins in Norway).


  2. Andrew says:

    No problem seeing this one again, Steve. Its a cracker.


  3. The fine white hairs that your photograph renders so well caught my attention.


    • They caught mine too, Steve. I’ve found that by using LiveView and the depth of field preview button, I can get a fair amount of detail in the flowers, although not always entirely from front to back, but where it counts.


  4. Jim in IA says:

    Beautiful. I like the way the flower goes with the darker greens. It looks like it should be big and showy.


    • Getting the background as close to monochrome green as possible is one of my goals when doing these portraits. And it is a bonus to have green as a background color for a red/magenta flower too. A closeup like this does give a false impression of scale. Thanks, Jim.


      • Jim in IA says:

        A few weeks ago I did a 5 or 6 post Tiny Flower series on some encountered on recent walks in our neighborhoods. So, this tiny one was intriguing to me.


  5. Deptford Pink is one of my favorites, as well, and I was so disappointed to learn it is not native. Still, I don’t think it is an invader, so we are free to enjoy it as far as I know. What a wonderful shot of it.


    • There are some flowers that give me the sense of “invasion” such as spotted knotweed, purple loosestrife and oriental bittersweet to name a few. Most, like Deptford Pink and it’s running mate, Maiden Pink, seem relatively innocuous despite their alien qualifications. And they are quite beautiful.
      Thanks, Melissa!


  6. Lottie Nevin says:

    Bloomin ‘eck – that one jumps right out at you. It’s so sharp and the colour is perfect. I can almost smell it……Actually, do they smell?


    • Bloomin’ thanks, Lottie!!! 🙂 It is a magnificent little flower, isn’t it? I am not sure whether it has a heady scent or not. Although small, there was a large number in this one spot but I did not notice an aroma. But then I am almost always congested. 🙄


  7. Steve, the movement to label some flowering plants as “alien” is probably more akin to politics than it is to botany. (OK, the obligatory ‘nice shot’ is in order now! Actually, better than nice, but your floral images always are.) A significant segment of our population lives in a fog of fear over “illegal aliens” and their supposed threat to a way of life. Reactionary angst is spilling over into the natural world.

    The term ‘invasive’ is even worse. Some of our trendy landscape do-gooders recently destroyed thousands of eastern red cedars in a local meadow as part of their vain attempt to recreate a “native prairie habitat.” Rangers and their “master gardeners” are doing the same in a local battlefield state park. They look back to 1865, scour old notebooks, make a list of “natives,” and then set out to transform the landscape to an ideal that never existed. In the act of transformation they kill a grand cadre of living, thriving, beautiful specimens.

    Eastern Red Cedar, _Juniperus virginiana_, is as native as any tree in the USA, so our revisionists have coined the term “invasive” to justify their wanton acts of destruction of the cedars. “No stone-walled hilltop too bleak, no abandoned field too thin of soil but that the dark and resolute figure of the Eastern Red Cedar may take its stand there, enduring, with luck, perhaps three centuries,” Donald Culross Peattie wrote in _A Natural History of North American Trees_. “In aboriginal America the Cedar probably formed extensive groves, sometimes excluding almost all other trees, and remnants of such are still to be seen occasionally on limestones of eastern Tennessee and Kentucky.”

    When farmers moved west and began to clear the forests to make farms, the cedars survived because their seeds are so tasty to birds, who are among the most productive and non-invasive sowers of seed in the natural world. What is invasive about this natural cycle of survival? What shall the birds eat when the cedars are gone?

    The _Dianthus armeria_ so beautifully depicted in your photograph is found growing wild along roadsides and waste places, in open woods, and by lake shores in almost every state in the USA. Though not indigenous to the USA, this flower has grown in the wild here for several centuries, having been brought to our shores by British settlers as early as the 18th century. The New England Wild Flower Society classifies the Deptford pink among their list of “naturalized” plants.

    How long does a creature have to put down roots before the “alien” tag is rendered moot? What purpose does it serve the naturalist to accept the current politically-charged jargon of the craft? Why should the Deptford pink be seen as “less than” in the eyes of its beholder because of some artificial designation of status devised by man?

    Ebenezer Baldwin Bowles


    • Hmmmm….methinks you have a some strongly held opinions about this topic, Eb. For the most part, I agree with you as I mentioned in a way when replying to Melissa above. And, as I originally said, many have been here longer than I. I think for many it is a hard choice to make, not necessarily to recreate something that may or may not have existed, but to see some plants forced out of existence by the onslaught of an aggressive plant, like the oriental bittersweet or kudzu, that chokes the life right out of the native plants. But those are special cases. Personally, I can see no good reason for the example you share to take place. Wiping out a stand of beautiful trees, or any ecosystem, is reprehensible to just go back in time….or create a new WalMart. Humans have the greatest possibility to do good on this planet by taking care. But rearranging things is not exactly taking care. A long time ago I read “Playing God in Yellowstone” which takes us to task for the way we, in the form of our government agencies, are destroying our resources. Most especially the wolf….an ongoing battle….but also the entire ecosystem. Years ago the forest service was, and most likely still is, selling the rights to clear cut forest tracks in Alaska and elsewhere by timber companies that would then sell the wood to pulp mills overseas to be sold back to us as paper products and for pennies on the dollar….we were almost paying them to do it.

      Anyway, I did a short rant on Andrew’s blog about my opinion of the human race. No reason to repeat it, but we ain’t so smart after all.

      As far as “human aliens” go, I feel pretty much the same way about them as flowers in terms of “legality”. Whether we are talking illegal aliens or food stamps or voter fraud or….its all a smoke screen to keep people from digging into what is really going on with the governemnt/economy. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe it is all being used to manipulate the populace and hold us unaware of what is behind the scenes.

      I haven’t done the maths, but I am pretty sure my favorite flowers, which pretty much covers all, are equally divided between them and us. 🙂


      • Nicely stated, Steve. And there’s nothing to fault “strongly held opinions.” (Although I once ago stated these kinds of things in much stronger language — my present hours are more mellow here in the cottage.) Especially those opinions that don’t attack individuals by name. It’s ideas we’re engaging here. And our fair share of hot air on a mid-summer day.

        As for your commentary in another forum about the human race , it wasn’t a “rant,” which intimates a screaming fit, but rather a reasoned argument about some of the ills we face as we trudge the happy road of destiny.

        Rooting out plants in one’s garden or lawn is each steward’s choice. Shifting this decision to large swaths of public land moves stewardship into a larger arena.

        In our region here in the Ozark highlands, the enemy plant so detested by the “master gardeners” is Japanese honeysuckle. Considerable sums of public funds were recently allocated to eradicate patches of honeysuckle on the edges of a trendy park. I rather like it for the privacy screen it provides along the Tai Chi yard fence and for the fragrance it lends to late spring evenings. The black cherry, wild roses, pampas, and wisteria manage to coexist with the evil honeysuckle — as long as I lend a helping hand once or twice each growing season.

        The kudzu grows rampant down south in the Mississippi, Arkansas, and White River delta lands. It’s not a popular immigrant.

        Condemning these plants with inflammatory jargon that echoes contentious current affairs is another matter entirely. But then I’ll whack poison ivy in a heartbeat. As the old saw sings, “I’m just sayin’ ….”

        Post Script: I’ve two other species of honeysuckle that are deemed “native” by the local guru horticulturalists. They’re highly favored.


  8. It is beautiful…It is special. Great photo.


  9. shoreacres says:

    Well, I grew up as a dandelion lover among hordes of suburbanites who used tools, chemicals, and pure human energy to rid the world of those little beauties. I love native plants and flowers, but I’m not about go dig dandelions.

    On the other hand, you did mention kudzu. That’s a different matter, as is the hydrilla that chokes our waterways, and the zebra mussel that’s such a threat, and the pythons in the Everglades, and the lizard imported from Cuba that’s eating my favorite anoles. But you and Mr. Bowles seem to have covered the issue fairly well.

    The flower you picture here is a beauty. I’ve never thought much about dianthus one way or the other, because I mostly see them in flats at stores like Home Depot, where they appear rather boring. I need to pay more attention to them, and perhaps even find some to fill a pot on my patio.


    • for Linda….

      The Rustic Oracle

      When you bend your steps through the plain,
      or ascend the hill-side, or stand on the mountaintop,
      look down to the green sward at your feet, and
      you will perceive patches of verdure, covered with
      golden flowers, or with light and transparent
      globes. It is the Dandelion, the oracle of the
      fields, which may be every where consulted. Like
      man, it is spread over the whole face of the
      globe ; it is found in the four quarters of the
      world, near the pole as beneath the equator, on the
      margin of rivers and streams as well as on sterile
      rocks : every where it offers to the hand that
      would gather, or the eye that would consult them,
      its flowers, which shut and open at certain hours,
      serving the solitary shepherd for a clock, while
      its feathery tufts are his barometer, predicting
      calm or storm.

      –from “The Language of Flowers,” 1848
      Frederic Shoberl, Editor

      The dandelion is among my favorites, too — always delightful to the child’s sense of wonder and the adult’s sense of shape and form. The yellow blossoms cling close to the ground, then rise up to display a showy mane of white.

      Your meditation on Greene and Durrell over at “The Task at Hand” is exquisite, Linda. I’ve read only one of the Quartet, “Justine” — and found it mysterious, lyrical, and evocative of universal truths. Let’s hope you write more about your experiences in Sierra Leone, too.



      • shoreacres says:

        Your dandelion offering is quite wonderful, Ebenezer – thank you for that. We do have a lovely native Texas dandelion, but I still enjoy the plump yellow flowers that remind me of childhood. Well, and my pet squirrel, too. He was quite a fan of dandelions, and it was my job to fetch them for him during the spring.

        Thanks for your kind words about the Durrell piece, too. Since I was working in Liberia, I only was in Freetown twice, but there is another piece to be written — next time, about Durrell and Cavafy, and the City Hotel.


    • Yes, the garden center and big box dianthuses are rather garish, I think. Kind of clowny. That said, we do have a few in the garden. The wild variety are much more lovely. And in the wild is where they’ll stay. I don’t pick anything wild. Flowers from my philosophy and mushrooms because I don’t trust my fungal ID abilities and rule number one as well.
      I’ve loved dandelions ever since I read Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine” time out of mind ago. So much fun. BTW, I picked up “Our Man in Havana”…now I’ll try to read it without falling asleep. 🙂


  10. richardhollis says:

    Deptford Pinks, regardless of their origin are absolute tiny gems. And they often grow in places with little els of interest. I love to photograph them!


  11. Deptford Pink is a beauty for sure. Lovely photos, Steve


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