Gardening with Micki: Allium an eye-catching flower

Image by Sonja Kalee from Pixabay

It’s not too late to plant Allium for your spring garden. You still have a tiny window of time. Allium is a curious flower. Its photo in a garden catalog inspired me to plant this unusual flower. That same day, I found an impressive seed packet of Allium at a local garden center. It promised “Guaranteed To Grow.” Magic words on any seed packet.

Allium may not seem beautiful to anyone except the visiting garden creatures that love to feast on it. Allium. It is a host pollinator plant, especially for butterflies. Its long slender stem is topped with a circular cluster of blooms, ranging from deep purple to white. It can grow to 36 inches tall. An offspring of Allium features yellow/orange star-shaped blooms. I like the purple variety best, since purple is my favorite color. It looks so rich and royal in the garden.

I’ve never planted Allium before. I first encountered this plant while touring some of the secret gardens in Paris, after reading a book by the same title. I saw Allium again while visiting several gardens in Vancouver on a press trip for garden writers several years ago.

So, what is the value of planting Allium? Well, it’s an incredibly different flower, destined to inspire conversation among your garden guests. Because it’s a vertical plant, it easily commands your attention. With its tall, lanky features and that ball of flowers on top, it will always be an eye-catching feature in your garden or as a centerpiece, surrounded by pastel Freesia.

Most plants are ground huggers, lying low in your garden. Not Allium. It likes to stand tall, almost like a sentinel overlooking your garden. It is the perfect plant, especially when it’s a dinner party centerpiece. On a trip to the south of France, I was the weekend houseguest of artist Bernard Cathelin and his wife. She used a dozen purple Alliums to tower over a medley of summer flowers from her large flower garden at their century-old farmhouse. It was a striking centerpiece, drawing applause from their guests. Not to mention the grand tour of their gardens.

I can’t wait for my Alliums to bloom next spring. I think this eye-catching plant will add a new dimension to one of my garden areas. 

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