Friday, August 8, 2008

Alliums: garlic's pretty cousin

Despite the fact that the heat is still running high in most areas, the time for ordering fall bulbs is approaching. I'm always on the lookout for new and different plants for my yard--something that will stand out. I was thrilled to see allium bulbs in the garden catalog last year, remembering these unusual plants.

Allium belongs to the same family as garlic and onions, and has a slightly garlic-y smell to the plant. In fact, this spring I had forgotten that I had planted the bulbs and spent a few days trying to figure out how my chives had seeded themselves to far away from the mother plant before I realized what they were. Allium comes in different colors and shapes, generally in purple or pink colors though there are blue and even orange varieties. The ones I ordered were drumstick alliums (pictures above), which grow about three feet tall, and have a spherical purple flower about an inch and a half around. They go upward in size from there to the Gladiator which has four or five-inch flowers and grows up to five foot tall.

Some varieties have a less compact shape like these 'sparkler' alliums.

My husband says when he was growing up he had a neighbor who would spray paint their flowers silver when the bloom was nearly finished and they stayed a focal point of that flower bed for weeks afterward.

These flowers have done well in the heat this summer, and haven't showed a bit of wilt though they are watered only about once a week. I'm definitely looking forward to adding some new varieties to my yard.



Return to the Neighborhood

1 comment:

Nichole Giles said...

Ooh, those are pretty. I might have to get some for my yard this year.

Thanks for the info.

Nichole