Two years ago I mail ordered 9 'Globemaster' alliums from Netherland Bulb Company. The bulbs came in super good condition in late fall. I planted them and hoped for success. I had previously tried Allium 'Gladiator'. The Gladiator cultivar barely bloomed the first year, and never appeared again. Globemaster is similar in growth habit to the Gladiator, so I was a bit worried about wasting my money.
Alliums need good drainage and full sun. Those two conditions are hard to find in my garden. But, I did locate what I hoped to be a good position for my initial nine bulbs. They came up beautifully last spring. When they bloomed the sight was simply stunning. These flowers just gave and gave. The foliage begins growing in February, then the flowers begin to form and bloom in April. The bloom lasts for more than a month. Once the huge purple bloom has gone by, the Globemaster alliums remain upright and beautiful in the garden for another month or so. They do fade from purple to grayish brown, but their form is still very good. I just loved these blooms.
I loved them so much I purchased 27 more bulbs from Netherland Bulb Company again this past fall. I thought I would be smart and plant them out front where they would make a big statement in my front garden, and not be hidden in the backyard. I could certainly picture them blooming their lovely purple color above the yellow four o'clocks (not in bloom at the same time-silly me!) in my front foundation bed, and across the sidewalk in an adjacent bed I call the 'Sidewalk Garden'. Original-huh? It turns out my planting location was not a good location. The front foundation bed is heavy clay and does not have good drainage, all but one allium disappeared. Lesson learned. The sidewalk garden alliums fared better and all are blooming. Yahoo!
The first picture shows the alliums in the sidewalk garden. They are doing great! They are mixed in amongst some crocuses, muscari and mum foliage. The start of the allium foliage are the little tufts of what looks like sedum or yuccas growing up in this bed. I have this problem with double and over planting, so all of my plants will inevitably be growing near or among other plants. The next picture shows some more of the foliage and the buds. Slowly the buds are opening up and looking a bit like something from outer space or Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Opening a bit more in May....! The blooms last a very long time in the garden. I like plants which last a long time and give good interest such as these alliums.
While visiting with Nina yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to see she also grows the 'Globemaster' alliums! They are blooming beautifully in her yard too.
The alliums are underplanted with chrysanthemums. The allium foliage will die back in a month or two and disappear completely when the mums take over. Come next spring they'll be back up and ready to grow and reward me again. That is why the 'Globemaster' alliums are my choice for May's Plant of the Month.
in the garden....