Every garden needs Allium - and lots of them! Related to the onion, the common name for Allium is Ornamental Onion. Most will naturalize (reproduce) if they're happy in the garden. Generally they bloom May/June in my Portland garden, although the drumstick Allium doesn't start performing until late June/July. Alliums coordinate especially well with hybrid tulips which have a similar bloom time.
Some of my favorites:
- Allium 'Globemaster' - Can you say 'drama' ... this one never fails to generate comments in my garden. The round, purple flower heads often exceed 9" in diamater and can reach a height of 4' or more. Globemaster is one of the more costly (each bulb can cost $8, sometimes more) so I recommend getting as many as you can afford, then supplement with other less costly Alliums, such as 'Purple Sensation' or Allium cristophii.
- Allium 'Purple Sensation' - Smaller in stature than 'Globemaster'; these can be used more generously without overwhelming the garden scene, or your pocketbook!
- Allium sphaerocephalum (Drumstick Allium) - This one naturalizes much more readily than the others. Blooming in July, the tightly arranged bud emerges green and matures to a deep crimson red. Each egg-shaped "drumstick" is about 1 1/2 in diameter, swinging and swaying at about 36" on narrow stems.