Demure and understated, discovering this bright little flower blooming among the grasses makes me dream of going to Deptford! Don’t you think it must be beautiful there?
Although it is indeed introduced from Europe, and probably even England, it is not really from the town of Deptford. The flower was wrongly identified when it was first named, but the name persists nonetheless. Darn!
Now naturalized across most of the U.S., the tiny, ½-inch wide flower blooms on tall, stiff stalks that are 8 to 20 inches high. There are 5 narrow, rose-pink petals splashed with subtle white dots. The leaves are slender, slightly hairy, and green (not gray like other pinks). If you are a gardener, you might recognize this as a less-ornate version of the popular Dianthus (Sweet William)!
Deptford Pink is a biennial with great seeding capacity (400 seeds per plant!), so it easily colonizes disturbed sites. Bloom time is June and July in Virginia. Look for it in sunny meadows on your next summer walk.