For a plant to warrant the attention of Alzheimer’s Australia and Ita Buttrose, it must be truly special. Such is the case with Dianthus ‘Memories’. With the plant being launched as you read this, we would like to share my excitement about this project and everything it stands for.
For many years, PMA has worked closely with renowned Dianthus experts, Whetman Pinks in the United Kingdom. Whetmans are world leaders in the Dianthus market and a visit to their facilities in Devon will not disappoint you – with Dianthus of all colours and forms available choose from. Whetmans Dianthus are celebrated for their exceptional garden characteristics and have now allowed us to enjoy a little slice of the English countryside but with plants that are bred to perform under todays conditions.
A few years ago when matriarch Carolyn Whetman explained the reasoning behind her latest breeding project, I could sense the start of something special. Carolyn had lost both her father and father-in-law to dementia and had purpose-bred a variety that she wanted to align with Alzheimer’s research. Upon its release in the UK, she had donated a large portion of royalties from the sale of Dianthus ‘Memories’ and was keen to spread this project around the world.
Over the past two years we have worked closely with Alzheimer’s Australia and its current president, Ita Buttrose towards the release of the plant. Ita is a passionate ambassador for Alzheimer’s Australia and extremely knowledgable on the subject. With scent being a powerful trigger of memory, the selection of a plant to support this cause seemed very fitting.
In Ita’s words:
“I couldn’t think of a better way to honour a loved one than with a beautiful flower such as Dianthus Memories.”
The link between memory and gardening is a strong one, and we have discussed this with Ita and the amazing team at Alzehimer’s Australia over the last year. Gardening is a passion shared by so many people, and enjoyed at many stages of life.
Ita herself has noted
“While they may not remember what happened yesterday, the old memories still remain. For someone who was once interested in gardening, those old memories still remain and that passion is still there.”
Watch the video clip – it’s inspiring and really puts things in perspective.
Remember that $1 from the sale of each Dianthus ‘Memories’ will be donated directly to the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation. It’s an amount that can make a real difference to research funds, and it’s a long term commitment – not just a one-off for the first year.
Research tells us that 60% of adult Australians have someone in their family, or know of someone, who has dementia. Currently more than 332,000 Australians are living with dementia and this number is expected to increase by one-third to 400,000 in less than ten years. Without a medical breakthough, the number of people with dementia is expected to be almost 900,000 by 2050.
Dianthus ‘Memories’ is a small, but powerful contribution we can make to research. Whilst the funds will help, it’s also important to keep conversations about dementia happening, and to offer a special way to honour a loved one or celebrate an occasion.
What about the plant itself you ask? Like other varieties to come out of the Whetman Pinks camp, ‘Memories’ has some great characteristics. Inspiration for the breeding came from an older variety known as ‘Mrs Sinkins’. This was a popular garden ‘pink’ in its day and many gardeners old enough to be grandparents may have grown it at one point. It was a white variety with a lovely fragrance. Whilst not genetically related to ‘Mrs Sinkins’, ‘Memories’ is similar in appearance and will transport many of us back to our grandmothers garden patch. ‘Memories’ has shorter flower stems and is a more sturdy variety, and of course – that delightfully strong perfume.
‘Memories’ produces masses of snow white double flowers with serrated edged petals. It’s a classic photogenic cottage plant. But don’t be fooled by its elegance – it’s also exceptionally garden hardy, dry tolerant and long flowering. Whether you’ve got a garden bed to fill, a single container on a deck or want to enjoy the fragrance indoors – ‘Memories’ can fulfill all these needs.
Dianthus ‘Memories’ is low maintenance and easy to grow. It will benefit from an application of slow release fertiliser during early spring. No pruning generally required, although removing old flower stems will encourage further flushes. Whilst the main flowering season is spring, it will also give a second display over autumn.
We hope everyone can get behind this worthwhile cause and add Dianthus ‘Memories’ to their garden – or give one as a gift. It’s happened in the UK, New Zealand and now it’s Australia’s turn. What a great way thing it is that a plant breeder is spreading so much hope around the world!
For further details visit www.pma.com.au
[This sponsored post is brought to you by Plants Management Australia]