Tuesday 9 October 2012

Alliums – Big and Beautiful

I know I’ve blogged about alliums before; but having talked bulbs, bulbs and more bulbs for the past few weeks I just had to tell you about three of the biggest, most impressive, most gorgeous and thoroughly irresistible alliums that I simply would not be without. 

I know many of you already have Allium christophii, that sparkling lilac lovely with large open heads that bounce across the border.  I’ve got lots in the garden, and they are always a hit with visitors; that is until they see Allium scubertii.  This is a real firework of an allium, not too tall, but with the most magnificent large architectural flowerhead you are ever likely to find in your border.  It’s simply an explosion of fine filaments, each ending in a tiny lilac starry flower.  I grow it though herbaceous geraniums and the lovely Stipa tenuissima which hide the fading foliage, never a great attribute with alliums. 
The most amazing quality of this allium is the long lasting seedheads.
This one was photographed in my garden last week, and it will look fabulous over the winter if brought into the house and positioned in a large bowl.  We sometimes spray these seedheads gold and hang them for Christmas decoration. A single head of Allium schubertii can easily measure 40cm across. 

Now the alliums that everyone marvels at are those magnificent stately individuals that rise above other subjects in the border. A small group of them have such presence, and form and provide a strong focal point wherever they appear.  There are various tall, large flowering alliums but for me Allium ‘Globemaster’ is the finest. 
Fresh green stems up to 120cm (4ft) in height, topped with a plump green bud which gradually expands and then explodes into a large ball of deep lilac, wide-eyed stars.  As time progresses the sphere expands and proves to be a magnet for bees and pollinating insects.  The flowerhead of ‘Globemaster’ will be 20cm or more across.  The bulbs are expensive to buy, over £5.00 each, but they are worth every penny and like all alliums they will be a feature of your garden for years to come.

Whenever I talk alliums I always seem to be talking fifty shades of mauve, so now for something completely different. AlliumMount Everest’ is a tall, stately allium reaching 120cm (4ft) but with sparkling white flowers.  The heads are smaller than ‘Globemaster’, 15cm (6ins across) and more translucent, but the seedhead that develops is striking, architectural and long lasting.  Mount Everest’ is a must for every lover of white flowers, fabulous against dark green foliage, or rising out of silver leaves.  It adds a lightness and transparency to any border, and possesses a magical presence which bolder blooms often lack.

Make sure that you have all of these alliums in your garden next summer.  Take a look at our Big and Beautiful collection heres the product link

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