Sunday, May 18, 2008

Boring but Important - Alliums

Garden Alliums are a far cry from the onions they are related to. The Allium flowering season starts as the other bulbs are fading: the first for me is the little white Neopolitanum which spreads wildy where there is a bit of shade. Next are the taller globe headed purple ones which are supposed to flower in July but here are already going strong in May: the biggest and most impressive being the Gigantium but Globemaster and Stipitatum are also good. I like to plant them so as to show their heads above the foliage of other plants such as teucrium chamaedrys or to follow on from Iris Germanica which has similar shaped leaves (a trick I saw used at Tivoli). Finally the tiny pink Unifolium. Unusual but useful types include the starburst Shubertii and the tall pendulous Siculum. An Allium for every location. The bulbs don't often multiply unless they are in a really favourite location so I do replant quite a lot. The porcupine does not seen too care for the oniony smell but beware slugs, who ate all my (expensive) Gigantium last year.

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