This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Community Favorites, 75 can't-fail, easy-care plants well-adapted to our region and recommended by local gardeners.
Crimson Treasure dianthus
Dianthus 'Crimson Treasure'
Size: Under 2 feet tall
Bloom season: Summer
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Pruning needs: Little or none; remove spent flower stalks
Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week
Snapshot: Hardy and easy to care for, this pretty little perennial is an update on an old-fashioned favorite, "pinks." This hybrid dianthus (a close relative of carnations) features velvety red flowers flecked with light pink or white dots. The fine-leafed foliage is a handsome blue-gray. As a bonus, it's extremely fragrant. You can see specimens in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.
Why it's a favorite: "These beautifully speckled, red velvety flowers are nicely complemented by the gray foliage," said Francesca Claverie, the arboretum's assistant nursery manager. "I adore the very classic and vintage feel this dianthus evokes!"
See a photo gallery of the Community Favorites online at www.sacbee.com/home_garden.