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Dianthus caryophyllusDianthus caryophyllus
Carnation - Clove Pink

This magick herb is dedicated to Jove and of course ruled by Jupiter. It is used in protection spells and to give strength and health, as one would expect from a Jupiter herb. Gerard said a conserve of the flowers comforts the heart, which Jupiter rules. Plant a border of clove pinks around your entryway for Jovian protection and to enjoy the spicy scent. Clove pink petals are also wonderful for strewing in a magical context. The flowers' clove-like scent is helpful in attaining trance and in astral work. White wine in which an equal volume of petals have been steeped in the fridge overnight makes a nice aid to divination. Top

Clove pinks came from the Near East and have been cultivated for 2 millenia. Crusaders brought them back to Europe, where they were grown in medieval gardens and even in pots indoors. In the Middle Ages, the petals were used as a substitute for cloves, which were more expensive and had to be imported, and the petals were steeped in rosewater that was used as a medieval hair perfume. In the Renaissance, white wine infused with the petals (until they are pale, then strain) was drunk as a nerve tonic that Culpeper said strengthened the heart and by extension, the mind. They have been grown in New England since before 1800. They were a Victorian favorite and were incorporated into various languages of flowers used by young lovers. White blooms signified pure love and good luck; red meant deep love; striped stood for unrequited love, and pink represented either admiration or a woman's love. They even became part of the Victorian clock of flowers, which was a secret code used by young lovers to communicate meeting times through the exchange of flowers:

Hours of the Victorian Flower Clock

1:00 Red Rose
2:00 Snapdragon
3:00 Violet
4:00 Field Daisy
5:00 Sweet pea
6:00 Marigold   

7:00 Sweet William
8:00 Jonquil
9:00 Herb Robert
10:00 Clove Pink
11:00 Sweet Sultan
12:00 Carnation

This flower is also associated with the month of January and the sign of Sagittarius. Top

This ancestor of florist's carnations has very fragrant flowers with a spicy scent like cloves. The petals are edible. Take the flowers apart and remove the bitter white heel at the bottom of each petal. Then they can be sprinkled on salads, used as a garnish, made into a syrup for a traditional treatment for the heart (see recipe), or mixed with sugar to flavor it. The flowers can also be dried and used in pot pourri. Clove pinks are also known as sops in wine, clove gilloflowers, gillyflowers, jellyflowers, Jove's flowers, scaffold flowers, and hardy carnations. Top

How to Grow Clove Pinks

CarnationsFreeze seeds for 5-7 days before sowing. Germinates at 70F/21C in 7 days. Seedlings like cool temps once they are up (45-50F/7-10C) and then pot up after 4 weeks. Harden off and then transplant to full sun 8 in/20cm apart. They like alkaline soil, so don't plant them near pine trees; close to a wall or to your driveway is good (it's salt tolerant). Or sow outside in May or June for bloom the following year. Cut back after flowering or deadhead. You can also plant in pots and then bring inside to flower in winter. Plants get 20in/51cm tall. Blooms in white, rose, pink, red, and striped. Hardy down to -20F/-28C and can be grown in hot areas like Phoenix with afternoon shade. Best time to cut flowers is mid afternoon. Cut when they are just opening for flowers that should last 3 weeks. Or leave flowers on to collect seeds, which ripen August-September. Clove pinks attract butterflies but are tough enough to grow by the ocean or in polluted cities. They're a great addition to cottage gardens. General growing info. Top

Dianthus caryophyllus

Clove Pink Mixture (pink, red, white, striped)
100 seeds $3.75

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Protection spells
Astral Work

Nice in cottage gardens

Clove Pink Syrup
Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup of sugar. Boil for 4 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of fresh petals and let sit until petals are pale. Strain and bottle. Store in fridge. You can use this same recipe for any edible flower petal. Add another cup of sugar for a heavier syrup, and vary the amount of petals to suit your taste.

2006, 2017 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission