Friday, May 9, 2008

Plant of the Month-May 08

Alliums are a favorite genus of flowers for me. I first began growing the 'Drumstick' alliums, aka Allium sphaerocephalum, then began venturing into bolder types.

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.
But the 'Globemaster' alliums have done so well and have such an interesting and long season season of enjoyment that I have chosen 'Globemaster' to be my May 'Plant of the Month'. It is getting hard to choose a plant because there are so many good ones! I considered irises, but they don't last long enough in the garden, then salvias, but everyone has them and maybe I will feature them another month, the heucheras were considered then discarded, and finally I settled on 'Globemaster', a favorite!

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....


  1. Are these the little pips that smell like onion when digging to close? I had some of them and they are wonderful!

  2. You discarded the heuchera?! I'll take any you don't want. ;)

    The alliums look great. Not bad for ornamental onions! Those globemaster alliums might look nice to some irises I have. I'll have some pictures popping up later today of those irises. Their colors would match really well.

  3. I have one of this and wish I would have planted more! It just on the verge of blooming too - I keeping running out in the morning when I wake up and when I get home from work to see it if has blossomed yet. :)

  4. Just a quick hello, I am running late to gym but will be back to hang out over the fence! I love alliums!


  5. The one night I am sleeping well and the cats are not waking me up and a darn thunder storm rolled through at 4 in the morning! Saint was snoring away as I pace the floor! 1/2 inch of rain in the gauge which we needed...

    Off to town for pine straw and pea gravel...

    Have a Good Day everyone!

  6. Just a quick good morning to everyone and hope all has a great day. Leaving for Dawn's to go to Nikkie's dance recital tonight. I know it is only one and half hour to 2 hour drive (depending on traffic) but like to be able to stop and shop when I see the stores we don't have and have some errands in town and we will have supper at Dawn's.

  7. Beautiful flowers, they sound very lovely.

  8. Good Morning, I do think the Globemasters are a pretty plant, was hoping for mine to multiply more.

    In the house today doing ironing it has really backed up. Would rather be outside pulling weeds.

    Everyone have a great day!

  9. Mom-I love alliums. And yes Dawn they smell like onions when you get to close or handle them. Tom Rothwell has some that grow as tall as me!

  10. Just got back from picking up 27 bales of pine straw! I would have gotten more but the truck holds that many securely without tarp on them. Saint called me to meet him for pizza buffet lunch. Now just how does one spread pine straw after pigging out on pizza? LOL... I am letting food digest a bit before I start bending over!

    I planted the Drumstick Alliums that the Saint got me in the planter where I put lettuce, radish, carrot and onion seed. The Saint thought the alliums were the onion! Too funny. Speaking of which, the onion and carrot are not doing too well. The lettuce and radish seem to be okay though….

  11. Dawn, Alliums are in the same family as onions so yes, oniony smell!

    Dave, You are welcomed to come visit anytime. I divide my heucheras in the fall as it is the best time. I have quite a collection and have a post prepared. Look at them then come and get some! I always share.

    SuzyQ, I wanted to tell you your
    'Voting' photo is top notch. It could easily be used in a voting campaign and should win a prize! Hope your alliums bloom soon.

    Gail, You go girl! No wonder you stay in such good shape!

    Skeeter, Go spread some mulch and the pizza will slowly work its way around. Love pizza buffets-probably too much. lol I hope you get it all spread so you can relax! Did the Saint ever plant those drumsticks before the new year?

    Mom, Have a super time at Dawn's and shopping. The recital should be priceless.

    Cinj, Yours will be up soon.

    Nina, Mine haven't multiplied but the fact they are reliable is great. At least the ones I planted in the right spot-sad losing those 17!

    Christine, I am sure the alliums like the low humidity and cooler weather there on the ocean at Toms. Great plant.

    Gotta go cut the lawn and weedwhack.ttyl

  12. Love the Alliums. Always wanted to try them here but don't think they would do any good. Pink rose has finished her show for now. Will wait & see if see performs again. Dark haired lady still in full show. She is my pick now. That was a real nice gift from sis-in-law. Floribundas will be my choice. I'm fairly new with roses.

    It is so hot here, can't bear to go out. A few min & washed down with sweat. Humidity has got to be up there. Tomorrow is to be worse.Arrrgg
    Got the Lamb's ear in pots. Doing that so I can watch them closer. They are so big. Will put them in ground when it cools off this fall.

    I can't remember the name off hand but have a Blue ? that is about to bloom. Have waited 2 yrs for it to bloom & of course when it does I will have to take a pic of it.I really need to start a scrapbook of my plants so I can remember things.

    Hope all are having a great day. Maybe later.

  13. Hi Tina, great post about a wonderful plant. Drainage does seem to be key to these guys. We have purple sensation and christophii, your globemaster looks like a winner. I am trying to grow lots of different alliums, seeing which ones come back the best. Will have to try that one.

  14. Hi Tina --they sure are pretty and to think they are related to the onion --even better:) A neighbor gave me some yummy vidalia onions today --so I had to cook a roast. Well, I didn't have to but these onions were just delicious. I just planted the plain old yellow ones but they are growing nicely in the backyard.

    Boy number one had his dance at the school --he seemed to have a good time.

    Boy number two raced his homemade car today for science class and daddy, sidekick and I walked over to the school to watch the cars race. Some of those cars were really cool --boy number two made his out of a poptart box, painted it and put golf balls as wheels --drilled out the balls to put in axles.
    Girl model didn't have too much excitement today --guess it was a boy day.

    Sidekick and I walked around looking for a snake --okay he LOOKED but I just pretended and hoped I wouldn't find one.

    I mowed the backyard after a huge delay -red beauty decided she wanted a new sparkplug:( So, she wouldn't start --but hubby picked up one when he went for his haircut. So, yes sir I got that yard mowed in a little drizzle. Now, I can have the weekend to do other fun things:)
    Hi Jean --hope you had fun at the dance recital --they're so much fun to watch -and the music is usually great too:) Hi Dawn --hope your weekend goes well --it started off busy with the recital and I'm guessing you probably have baseball too.

    Hi Lola --I figured it would start getting pretty warm in your neck of the woods. We have had a few days already that felt sticky. Mostly because of the on again off again rain showers. Stay cool:)

    Hi Skeeter --once again you more than made up for your day or so off:) Dang girl --you sure know how to keep on going, going, going, lol. I totally admire you for that --just remember to take a break every once in awhile.

    And we have done our official swim of the season --the water was great. The heater really makes a HUGE difference. Hubby turned it back off so I'm not sure when I'll get in next --hahaha. I loved that whirlpool feeling --warm and relaxing.
    Howdy Nina --I'd love to send some more ironing your way:) (just kidding) but it does have a way of building up on me too! Then, my arms get tired I iron so much --never usually my stuff either --so sad, hahaha. Mostly the hubby and older boys:)

    Another busy day tomorrow doing my least favorite thing --grocery shopping. Of course with my four helpers you'd think it would be easier, rofl. Have a great night!

  15. Lola, I don't think alliums would do all that well there either. Not sure though. I am so glad the lambs ear made it. I hope it does well and think it will. Just make sure it is in a well draining spot. Stay inside when it is so hot.

    Frances, I had tried Gladiator and it fizzled out the very first year! This Globemaster works well and is faithful. That is always good!

    Anonymous, You and Skeeter are the two busiest beavers on here! You both go! Glad boy #1 had a good dance. They are also doing it at Jimmy's school but he is not interested. They are not having a ceremony for the eighth graders going to high school. I can't believe it! Sigh. I am so glad he is leaving that school but it is the end of a big phase of his life which can be kind of sad. You know.

    I saw the vidalia onions were in. I love those! Did boy #2's car win the race? Sounds cool with golf balls for wheels. Hope daddy didn't mind the loss of a few golf balls. Good luck at the fishing tournament this weekend! Let us know what he wins as I know he will win something! ttyl

  16. Dave you go get some of those plants and don't let her throw them away!

    Christy, Rothwell might not have any good plants since he does not have a hired gardener any more but I am sure he is trying to find another one, but maybe not since he wants to buy a different house.

    Skeeter you need to slow down a little before you wear your body out.

    Lola that is why I could never live in the south again..heat, and then the dreadful humidity. When I lived down there I loved the southern people but oh the humidity
    was sooooo bad. I will gladly take my Maine winter of it any day.

    Anonymous it sounds like the boys day was a good one. I can't wait to meet the sidekid as he sounds like a real gem.

    Our day was great as was the recital. It was great seeing Nikki do so good but oh boy, the younger kids are sooooo cute!! Just the expressions on their faces are priceless. We got their early so had center, front row seats.

    Dawn I forgot to ask but where did you guys get the pizza? It was really great pizza.

  17. Blue Lily of the Nile is the name of the plant I couldn't remember. Bloom still hasn't opened.

    Hey all.
    Anonymous glad the outings with the little ones went well. They are so much fun when they get involved with so many things, but that is how they learn. You never stop a child learning.
    Watch out for that crazy weather you are having.

    Jean, if I had my druthers I would be back in Tennessee. There is no life for me here, just my 2 sons & their families. I love them dearly but there is only so much time you can have with them. Need to stop complaining, that is my world. Would just have to start over in Tn. as all family are gone now.

    It won't be long before I have fresh tomatoes. Yeh!!!! Green onions sure are good, will have to pull more to go with the fresh bush beans I picked. Maybe I'll crop some more collards--corn bread. Hmmmm.

    Have a great night all.