Hunt for lost carnation
8 August 2012
The search is on for a missing heritage carnation, last seen in the late 1970s growing in the famous collection of perpetual flowering Dianthus in the grounds of Floors Castle in Kelso, south east Scotland.
It's believed Dianthus 'Floors Castle', a cerise pink self, is quite possibly still growing unremarked in a back garden or nursery, as the then Duke of Roxburghe and his head gardener James Riddell were enthusiastic growers of perpetual carnations, winning numerous awards and introducing several new cultivars.
The current Duke and his wife are now working to revive the glorious collection built up by his father with the help of carnation grower and National Collection holder Jim Marshall, of Marshall's Malmaisons, and are now actively hunting down lost cultivars to return them to the castle.
Two heritage cultivars from the original collection had been saved by Jim and are now growing at Floors Castle once more: 'Duchess of Roxburghe', first registered in 1968 with pale pink, sweetly scented flowers, and the deep red D. 'Duke of Norfolk' (picture above), which dates back to 1957. A spontaneous white sport of 'Duke of Norfolk', named 'Earl Kelso', has also been added to the collection in what it's hoped will be the start of a new breeding programme at the Castle.
'We have been anxious not to lose the links to these important old Floors varieties,' said the Duchess of Roxburghe. 'We would be delighted to hear if anyone knows if 'Floors Castle' is being grown so we can reintroduce it.'