March 20, 2015

Spring Green: Allium Rosettes

Rosettes of globe allium leaves are brightening the garden despite regular frosts at night.  Above are 'Ambassador' leaves, which have a nice structural form.  These were planted last fall, so I am especially excited to see the blooms for the first time.  They are supposed to be a deeper purple and a little later to bloom than other globe alliums.

Here is the same corner of the garden a few days later when the leaves were frosty in the morning light.  By the time these alliums bloom in late May or early June, the leaves will have withered away.  I have the bulbs planted among perennial 'Caradonna' Salvia, which will provide a base for the tall stems with 7" flower globes atop.

'Early Emporer' globe alliums are another new addition to the garden this year.  The leaves aren't as pretty as some, but they are supposed to bloom a week or two earlier than the other types.  I have them planted among late-to-awaken hydrangeas.  It will be nice to have something green in this area while the hydrangeas still look like dead sticks for the next month or so.

'Globemaster' allium leaves make a substantial rosette, and they offer lovely red shading on the tips when they first emerge.  I didn't catch photos of the emerging 'Ambassador' leaves, but they were especially pretty with purple tips a few weeks ago.

Here is a 'Globemaster' that was planted a year and a half ago and has already split into two plants.  'Globemaster' really is the best globe allium that I've seen, as its huge flower heads last longer than the others and the stems are especially sturdy.  These leaves will make a nice display as they continue to grow long and strappy, and though they linger longer than other allium species, they will start to wither as the flowers bloom.

In the lower left corner of the photo above you can see 'Gladiator' allium leaves, with crocus leaves on the right and daylily shoots at the rear.  The croci in this partly shady spot aren't even blooming yet, and the allium leaves are already well emerged.  I suppose it would be nice if allium leaves stuck around for the blooming period, but it's also very nice to have such early green in the garden.  The daylily leaves will be the base of this tall allium-which has already split into three for its second spring-when it blooms in May.  Last year my 'Gladiator' alliums reached nearly five feet tall!

Meanwhile the 'Grand Maitre' croci in the front yard are finishing up their big burst of bloom.  Just a few mini 'Tete-a-Tete' daffodils are blooming, and I don't know if the others are late to awaken or if they are not coming back this year.  White windflowers (Anemone blanda 'Alba') are starting to open with little daisy-like flowers, and blue 'Spring Beauty' scilla are beginning to bloom as well.  Tulip leaves are still small as you see above, but the tiny pink Tulipa humilis bulbs in the backyard are beginning to open now.  Spring marches on!


  1. Hi VW,

    Look at you with your aheadofEngland Alliums! Mine are coming up, but not as advanced! You really have had a mild winter this year.
    I think I'll have to hunt down some more caradonna salvia this year; something tells me they probably haven't survived the snow. I'm also thinking the Delphiniums have suffered the same fate.

    Very much looking forward to your Allium show! How exciting!

  2. So nice to see some color! We are still all white here...even some more snow for the equinox. I am looking forward to those first crocuses! I had never noticed what nice rosettes the allium form coming up. Thanks for the peek at your garden! Always a pleasure :)

  3. Won't be long before color is everywhere in your gardens!


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