Friday, July 1st, 2011...11:52 am


purple explosion by Tattooed JJ

One of the most unusual flowers, with its “architectural” shape, is the Allium. My favorite Alliums have flowers that look like a ball, but if examined closely the balls are made of miniature florets. The flower continues to give interest even when it goes into seed. When you think the flower seed looks ratty, just tug on the stem of the flower- it gives no resistence when pulled.

TheGardenLady has the purple Gladiator Allium, Allium Bulgaricum and the white Mount Everest Allium. Because I find these plants add so much interest to the spring garden, this year I am ordering the purple Globemaster Allium with flower heads that are 10 to almost 12 inches in diameter.

Going on private garden tours in Northwestern Connecticut, I was impressed with how popular the Allium has become in many of the fanciest gardens. They may be the hottest bulb on the market.

Alliums are in the onion family. But the Alliums that TheGardenLady recommends for the flower garden are grown as ornamental plants, not onions to eat. They are mostly sold as bulbs- though I have seen them sold as potted plants. Alliums are hardy, easy, untroubled by pest or disease – deer, voles, chipmunks, and rabbits don’t seem to like them. They don’t seem to be too fussy but they do like sun and to be planted in fertile, well draining soil. They should be planted in the fall. Their spring blooms can last up to a month in the garden and are also great in fresh bouquets (lasting a week) or dried bouquets.

There are many good bulb companies that sell Allium bulbs. But when you check out the price, you will notice that Alliums are fairly expensive. I try to find good prices for the plants that I buy but I also want good quality. And since I cannot have just one allium in a garden I am ordering my Globemaster Alliums from a wholesale nursery where in the past I have bought excellent bulbs. Friends and I have gotten together to order. We share the cost of shipping and divide the bulbs among us for the saving- the more bulbs you order, the cheaper they are. This wholesale bulb company is Van Engelen, Inc.

We have ordered early so that they will not have sold out for this fall’s planting.

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