Great balls of flowers! Amazing Allium

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

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Allium still in the bud, soring above a perennial bed at Chanticleer Gardens in Wayne, PA.

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.

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Grouping of allium naturalized at Chanticleer Gardens.

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A patch in my garden, at least 10 years old.

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The foliage of alliums is often turning brown just as the flowers emerge, underscoring the need for good underplantings with perennials to camouflage the unsightly foliage.

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.

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Best suited to modern arrangements, this one was created in a shallow rectangular black vessel. The allium were cut in 2 inch length offsets and secured in a metal nail frog. Three lime green hosta leaves complement the purple perfectly. River rocks camouflage the frog and bring a natural but contemporary note to the finished arrangement.

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Detail of river rocks in the modern arrangement.

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Tipping the nail frog slightly creates even more drama in the same arrangement. The river rocks hold the frog in place.

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A whimsical arrangement of a bunch of allium in a galvanized bucket. Nothing else is needed.

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Allium at Chanticleer Gardens

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Looking at the unopened white and purple allium on the right really shows how these flowers are related to chives and onions. Chanticleer Gardens.

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Astonishing allium at Chanticleer Gardens.

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Even the spent flower still brings structural beauty in the garden.

The spent flower is still striking and dramatic and perfect for craft projects.

A spent allium adds 4th of July sparkle to an arrangment at The Brandywine Museum

A spent allium adds 4th of July sparkle to an arrangment at The Brandywine Museum

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A whimsical dried allium bouquet spray painted in fall colors admired at Chanticleer Gardens in Wayne, PA

An outdoor planter featuring a relective ball, seashells and dried allium flowers as accents.

An outdoor planter featuring a relective ball, seashells and dried allium flowers as accents.

Allium garden sculpture by artist Inta Krumbolz

Allium garden sculpture by artist Inta Krumbolz for year round enjoyment.

Calder butterfly frolicking among the alliums at The Art Institute of Chicago

Calder butterfly frolicking among the alliums at The Art Institute of Chicago

 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 are taken in my garden.

French greeting card featuring allium

French greeting card featuring allium

12 thoughts on “Great balls of flowers! Amazing Allium

  1. These are fantastic! I must add these to my garden…I have a neighbor who has wonderful ones as well and every time I walk past their home I see them. Yours pics are so much more beautiful.
    I am inspired as always Johanne.

  2. What a wonderful post Johanne, and ahhh there it is, Chanticleer Gardens, have you visited lately? Love the information on the alliums – and the title? It almost steals the show :))

    • I’ve been to Chanticleer twice this season so far. Come join me!!! My firend Dona has a 4 person pass and gors almost daily. Glad you liked the post Loretta. Been working on it since last year just to get enough photos!

      Sent from my iPad

      >

  3. What a lovely post and i like that whimsical arrangement in front of the painting! I don’t have any in my garden but do have some giant chives – I think I might bring some in and recreate it!

  4. Ah que tes allium sont belles, les miennes ont surement gelées aujourd hui avec la neige que nous avons eu….

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