Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Delightful Allium Flowering Varieties

Alliums are always welcome as the flowers offer height and that distinctive allium shape in the early summer when the garden is not quite so colorful.

Alliums are generally plants of sunny and well drained soils and can be used in regimented eye catching rows or sweeps or else in a more cottage style, with isolated small groups to equally good effect. In days where we are all more careful to provide for the "wee beasties", the Alliums are good nectar bars for butterflies and other beneficial insects.

Allium angulosum (pyrenaicum)

Easily grown summer flowering plant with deeply keeled deep green leaves. The leaves persist through the flowering period. The flowers are pale lilac formed in a hemispherical umbel darkening as they mature tall at flowering. Very hardy and tolerant of acid soils, though does need moist conditions to thrive. The flowers are not very pungent and are very attractive to a great range of insects.

Allium caeruleum

Grown from really quite small bulbs producing three cornered leaves in the spring which have withered by flowering time? A small ball of mid blue flowers forms in July about 18" (45cm) from the ground, sometimes with bulbils forming in the flower head. Not widely seen in gardens though should be easy enough in a sunny dry spot.

Allium cernuum

The nodding Allium of western North America and Mexico. Pink flowers hang from the tip of the nodding stem and tumble down forming a chandelier. There may be successive flower stems, which do not carry the Allium odour and can be cut for the house. Each head may carry 20-30 flowers and in light soils they self sow Suited to sunny open conditions in lighter soils.

Allium cristophii (albo pilosum)

Found in the wild in Soviet Central Asia to Iran on rocky slopes and first described in 1884. In the garden growing best in free draining soils in the sun where the strap shaped leaves. The flower made up of 50-80 star shaped florets in a pale purple and metallic silvery violet color. The seed heads dry well, though get bleached of their color by the sun.

Allium Emir

A hybrid between A.rosenbachianum and A.sarawschanium (Afghanistan and Tadzhikistan) and highly commended by the Dutch equivalent of RHS in their trials of Alliums in 2005. Deep purple flowers in two distinct layers reminiscent of A.schubertii.

Allium Firmament
The flowers are deep purple with a metallic sheen, about 4-5" (10-12.5 cm) across, characteristically quite flat at the base. The foliage is disappearing at flowering time in June. The flowering height is 24-30" (60-75cm). A very good late flowering form with a deep color.

Allium hollandicum (aflatense)
Synonymed with A. aflatuenense the process of growing, selecting, hybridizing and multiplying bulbs in horticulture may well have led to considerable deviation from the original description in 1904 of this plant. Hardy throughout the UK, in higher rainfall areas they would be better planted in well drained situations, certainly sited to get the sun in the late spring and early summer. It is in the size of an orange in pale purple or deep lilac.

Allium hollandicum Purple Sensation
Produced as deep colored strain. Some of the production of this plant is from seed which results in some variation in the plant. The stock we offer is from clonal material and should be less variable. The growth, flowering time and other characteristics are just as A. aflatuenense, but the flower color is very much darker, an intense deep purple. It can be grown very effectively with blue or cream colored.

Allium karataviense
A low growing Allium, useful for its foliage as well as its flower as the leaves still look good at flowering time. Particularly so when they are quite closely planted in a sunny spot when the metallic characteristics of the plant come to the fore. The broad, lined leaves are grey-green with silvery bloom and a reddish edge line, the stem is short and sturdy with a pale pink flower.