This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July allium fireworks

These are among my favorites. I love the summer alliums that open up like a display of fireworks. They are easy from seed. If they like the site, they will reproduce prolifically. First up is Allium flavum, from southern Europe. It is a plant that is readily available through seed exchanges, and numerous dwarf forms have been named. I admit I've had to toss out some ugly ones, but the common bright yellow one is quite nice.

Another very nice one is Allium carinatum subsp. pulchellum, also known as A. pulchellum and probably something else since I can't find it listed as either of those first names in my Random House Book of Bulbs by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix (I highly recommend the entire series by these authors!).  I've read on more than one occasion that it can quite rambunctious, but that's never been my experience. I tried it up north at our cottage in the U.P. and it didn't survive more than one season amongst the northern white cedars and spruces. But even if it seeded around prolifically I'm not sure I would mind.

There are two common colors, white and lilac. The late garden author Jack Elliot strongly suggested deadheading them after flowering so that the colors didn't mix and turn into a dull mess. 

And then there is the nodding wild onion, Allium cernuum, which is native to North America from New York to British Columbia. Michigan flora says it is found on "marshy ground, swales and meadows, grassy forested banks, spreading along railroad embankments and roadsides." Flower color ranges from white to rose. All the photos in this post are from a garden within the Ann Arbor city limits. All are in flower now.

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