Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alliums Gaining Garden Momentum

Allium chistophii
Allium giganteum flower head

One great plant whose time has truly come is our favorite of the onion family (Alliaceae), the Allium or ornamental onion. The last few years, but more significantly this year, has shown a dramatic increase in landscape architects, contractors and individual home owners choosing to plant alliums. Not surprising since they have proven to be spectacular attention getters when they bloom in late spring into early summer. I often explain in my bulb talks how they fill a need for color in the garden from May to June, when the early spring bloomers are finished and the summer bloomers have barely started. The individual strength and stature of the taller varieties is amazing. Four foot tall plants that can take a 30-40 mph wind and not break in half. They have proven their value since some of the more hybridized varieties can be a little pricey. Perhaps because of their ability to return year after year with equal vigor, not to mention their ability to perform even after the flower has dried. One Garden Center even had someone go out and spray paint the dried flower heads, causing quite a stir. Everyone wanted to know what those brightly colored flowers were. Here are a few pictures from my garden of allium christophii and giganteum.
giganteum and christophii

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