Allium species have been somewhat elusive. I had seen only pictures of them from other gardens. By the time I finally decided to try them in my own garden, they were no longer available from local nurseries. When I found them online, there were too many cultivars to choose from. It was baffling. Tangly Cottage Gardening sorted it all out for me by giving me my first two, Allium schumbertii and Allium christophii. They are exquisite, and are now generating seed. I should have gotten better pictures of them while they were in the middle of bloom, rather than before and after bloom. Since there are only three pictures of them here, three pictures from work were added, for a total of Six on Saturday.

1. Robinia pseudoacacia, black locust, is a horrible weed. This one had been falling for a long time before it landed in this motorpool yard. At least it warned us to avoid damage.

2. Gunnera tinctoria, Chilean rhubarb, regenerates efficiently after winter dormancy. It was completely bare only a few weeks ago. It should get much grander through summer.

3. Lilium asiaticum, Asiatic lily, was a gift from a neighbor two winters ago. Its dormant bulbs were unimpressive at the time. They were splendid last year, and are more so now!

4. Allium schumbertii, Persian onion, is one of two species of Allium that were gifts from Tangly Cottage Gardening! This unfinished bloom was more than a foot and a half wide!

5. Allium schumbertii, Persian onion, is also known as tumbleweed onion because these seeded trusses break off to disperse seed as they tumble about the deserts they inhabit.

6. Allium christophii, star of Persia, is the other of the two species of Allium from Tangly Cottage Gardening. I hope that both species are reliably perennial, and their bulbs multiply.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

26 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: My First Allium!

    1. Thank you; but I will not likely purchase any more. I hope that these multiply, and that their seed grow into more of the same. When I acquired them, I was not discriminating about cultivar. If I purchase any in the future, I might get ‘Mount Everest’ or another cultivar with white bloom, so that it can live in a white garden, but I am really quite pleased with what I got.

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    1. The trunk of the tree remained suspended within the limbs of adjacent trees and on top of the fence. Only pliable growth and foliage landed on the vehicles. The vehicles would have been moved if we thought that the tree would damage them.

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    1. Yes! The floral bud appeared shortly after I returned from vacation. I thought that the bloom would be inhibited by the distress of relocation. It did not get very tall, but got just as wide as if it had been established in the garden.

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    1. I did not select them. They were unexpected gifts from Tangly Cottage Gardening! I had wanted to try some sort of Allium for a while, but never got around to it. I hope that they are reliably perennial here.

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    1. I hope that my first two will be reliably perennial, but I do not know what to expect. Most bulbs prefer more chill than they can get here. Supposedly, the two species that I got do not need much chill, and are more resilient than the extensively bred cultivars.

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  1. We were admiring the ‘Yorktown Onions’ blooming this week along the Colonial Parkway, and I was thinking about writing soon about Alliums that perform well in our area. I grew A. Schubertii alongside snapdragons of a similar color at the botanical garden for the spring of 2019, and it was a huge showstopper. They are gorgeous and so easy! Unfortunately, those were sold while in bloom during a fundraiser at the garden and I’ve not ordered them again. I’ve eyed Christophii many times, and am thinking of planting some in that raised bed for next spring. I love Alliums. Garlic chives and regular chives have both colonized in the upper garden at home, but the ornamental Alliums only manage a few years in our clay before they disappear. Gunnera certainly is spectacular in the West, and it just isn’t available out here. I love that photo!

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    1. Allium do not like clay?! Well, that is useful information. They will likely get sandy soil here, although I do not know where to plant them yet. When I started to investigate cultivars, I preferred those that were more reliably perennial, although I also wanted white bloom, such as ‘Mount Everest’. Now that I got these, I will work with them, and may never get any others. I have been very impressed so far. I suspect that they are less popular here because lily of the Nile is so common. The floral structure of some Allium is like a diminutive lily of the Nile, although Allium schumbertii is even bigger!

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      1. Alliums don’t like sitting in wet, waterlogged soil, particularly when they are dormant. They might do fine in clay in another climate where there isn’t so much summer rain. Our clay is particularly thick and holds onto moisture for a long time after heavy rains. The one’s I purchased and planted bloomed for several years and then just petered out, instead of multiplying. The chives, however love it here. Our white garlic chives grow to about 18″ and bloom in late summer. They self-seed and have grown prolific here. That is fine, because the butterflies love them. I’ve not grown Lily of the Nile, but it is certainly a striking and beautiful plant.

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      2. Almost all of our rain happens during winter. Not much stays damp away from the creeks and river. Allium christophii seems to be a chaparral plant, so may appreciate the climate here. Lily of the Nile is overly common here, but because it was the first perennial that I grew a significant quantity of when I was a kid, I can not dislike it. I have many of those originals still here, and MANY more at work, along with some white lily of the Nile that I just relocated last year. Would you like me to send a few? They may want shelter for winter there.

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      3. Oh I’d love to have some white Lily of the Nile! Thank you for such a generous offer! The palms you sent last fall are all sending up new fronds and I’m thoroughly enjoying watching them grow! I have two at home and two at the botanical garden and all 4 are doing great. I plan to order some A. christophii for the botanical and grow it in a raised bed with good drainage, and perhaps in the rock garden. It will be a fun plant to have in bloom in late spring.

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      4. Splendid! There are only a few spare white lily of the Nile though. I will send what I can, perhaps on Monday or so. Should I send some blue also? Incidentally, the white lily of the Nile will be removed from where the white ginger that you sent to me will go.

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      5. That seems like perfect balance, Tony, to plant the butterfly ginger lilies where you remove some lily of the Nile. I will pot whatever you send and watch them to see how they do before trying to place them here or at the Garden. I collect blue and purple flowering plants, and would truly enjoy watching the blue ones unfold, too. Would you like some of the white garlic chives that bloom here so prolifically each August? Thank you very much for offering to share your lily of the Nile ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      6. Splendid! There are not many spare white lily of the Nile, but MANY blue lily of the Nile. I installed a perfect row of the white lily of the Nile across the front of the chapel, with a small patch of spares off the end. (The patch is beyond the fir tree in the second picture here: https://tonytomeo.com/2021/07/10/six-on-saturday-catedral-de-santa-clara-de-los-gatos/ .) Some of those spares will eventually move into my garden, and all will eventually get replaced with other white flowers, including the white butterfly ginger, and perhaps a gardenia. I really only put them there to keep them alive, and because the spot was vacant. Some of them were the runts of the group, but are doing well now. Thank you for offering the white garlic chives, but I really should not commit to anything new right now. (Oh my!) Incidentally, just a few hours ago, I needed to remove some simple cannas. I have no idea what they do, and they would need to be cut back. One has somewhat bronzed foliage with bright orange flowers (perhaps like ‘Wyoming’.) Another has simple green foliage with (supposedly) yellow flowers. Should I add some of them to the lily of the Nile?

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      7. Thanks for the photos, Tony. I’m looking forward to trying the L of the N, both white and blue, and will start them off in large pots. I have planted 4 or 5 different types of Cannas in my garden at home. A caterpillar of some sort normally colonizes enough of the leaves to look terrible, and voles often come for the roots and rhizomes. I’m generally disappointed with them over the summer. I’ve had great success with C. ‘Bengal Tiger’ in a raised bed at the Garden, and had to divide those this spring. I brought home 5 divisions to replace some the voles got a few years back and sold about 15 other divisions of them. Now I’m wishing I’d been more aggressive in digging them up as they are seriously overgrown into the Salvias. Such is life in the garden. So thank you for your offer, but I must decline more Cannas as I don’t have a reasonable spot to plant them. You have such self-discipline to decline a new white Allium at this point. Just let me know if you want to try them later in the fall. I could send you seeds or divisions once your rains return.

        I found a new color of Verbena bonariensis last week- a lovely soft pink- and couldn’t walk away. I have so many purple seedlings that they’re getting plucked and thrown away, and I buy more plants because the flowers are a different color. It is an addiction….

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      8. I pulled up the white lily of the Nile today. They are soaking to hydrate prior to their trip. There are not many, and they are quite small, so please do not be disappointed. They grow fast, and could bloom next year. I will stuff the remainder of their package with blue lily of the Nile, without any cannas. The roots and foliage will be trimmed, so you can plant or can them directly when they arrive.
        These white lily of the Nile, from my mother’s garden, are the first white lily of the Nile at work. In the future, I might procure a single purple lily of the Nile, just so that I can work with it. However, I doubt that I will like it much. Although I do not totally dislike purple, I am not so fond of the pendulous floral structure of most of the purple lily of the Nile. They seem to be wilted. Well, that is in the future anyway.

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      9. Thanks very much, Tony. I will especially enjoy the white Lily of the Nile knowing they came from your mother’s, and from your garden. I love plants with a history behind them! I can’t wait to pot them up and watch them grow ๐Ÿ˜‰

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