Ornamental allium, cousin of the edible onion and garlic is the firework of the perennial border! Its stunning flowers soar above other plantings punctuating the garden with floral exclamation marks. These enchanting flowers always steal the show and never fail to make me smile. From pure white to soft lilac to brilliant purple, they are easy to grow and are animal proof as their onion taste is unappealing to animals. Allium bulbs should be planted in the fall and will naturalize. Most allium bloom mid spring to early summer. Some are as small as 1″ all the way to grapefruit sized Globemaster. They are loved by bees. Plant in a sunny location
Allium are good companion plants for other perennials. Their foliage is not attractive and will often be turning brown before the flower is open. They do well to be planted with peonies, daisies, geraniums or shrubs. This way they get coverage where they need it most and the underplantings get a punctuating mark bringing attention to the amazing allium flowers. Allium are striking flowers throughout their various stages of opening. From the tight bud with its telltale pointed chive-like tip to the opening of the glorious flower itself to the fading bloom stage, they are interesting flowers. Even as they fade, alliums retain their wispy, skeletal framework on firm stems, providing ongoing interest in the garden. The dried bloom is a great flower for crafts: spray painting them gold or silver for holiday arrangements or in fall colors for a whimsical dried autumn bouquet.
Allium are fun to work with in flower arranging. Harvest them when one quarter of the flowers are open and they will continue opening and evolving in the vase. Their bold flowers make them suitable to modern arrangements. The flowers are best on their own as they are so striking.
I hope you have enjoyed discovering the wonders of stunning allium. A special thank you to my dear friend Dona for documenting the Chanticleer Gardens alliums for this post and for inviting me to walk in the splendor of the gardens so often with her. She has a great eye to capture the beauty of Chanticleer. The rest of the photos were mine.
And one more glorious photo of an allium after a watering can shower, captured by my talented friend Kerstin in Canada: