Saturday, 11 June 2016

Garden Design - a simple, eye-catching effect with Allium bulbs

Alliums are a colourful, inexpensive and low maintenance spring flower that are well worth adding to your garden. £10 will buy between 3 and 20 bulbs depending on the variety.

I've planted mine between the small topiary balls that sit in a line curving around one edge of our lawn. The round globes of the alliums make a  colourful display of purple lollipop shapes hovering above the silver metal balls and green topiary below.
 
Alliums come in a range of shades of pink and purple as well as white. In spring each bulb produces a single upright stem above a clump of foliage. Topping each stem is a collection of hundreds of tightly packed flowers, usually in a sphere, so at their peak  you appear to be growing lollipops!

Alliums will bring wildlife into your garden because bees and other pollinators love them. They are equally useful in formal or cottage style gardens because they are equally effective in formal arrangements or in drifts through a more relaxed planting area.
 
You don't need to do much to look after alliums. Like other spring bulbs you plant them in autumn and just wait. They flower in spring, die back over summer, and come back again next year. The spent flowers can be left through the summer as they stay nice and spherical and continue to look good hovering above the ground.
 
GREEN
 FINGERS
TIP!
Although you can leave the seed heads through to autumn, alliums will flower more strongly the following year if you take the flower heads off before they set seed as this will divert their energy to the bulb instead. So it's up to you whether to dead head them for a better show next year, or enjoy the seed heads for longer knowing that you will need to replace them a year or two earlier than if you dead head them. 
Allium Christophii

 















My 3 favourite alliums:
  • Purple sensation: the classic allium, medium sized pom pom flowerhead on a tall stem.
  • Christophii: really good football size flowerhead on a shorter stem.
  • Giganteum: thick stem supporting a large flowerhead, really impressive!


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