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Saturday, 11 February 2012

My top garden plants - Alliums

My garlic is coming along nicely, my leeks are frozen in the ground and I will be growing onions after all, thanks to a kind friend who spotted those elusive pink Roscoff onion sets and sent them to me (hugs to Mrs M xx), but, as I've never let them flower because I grow them to eat their bulbs, it's not those alliums to which I'm referring.

There's a whole host of ornamental flowering alliums too, not to mention the chive family. What can be prettier than a bunch of chives in flower in the early spring? The flowers taste good too and look lovely sprinkled over a potato salad.

I also love garlic or chinese chives which I grow mostly for the flowers, although the flat leaves which have a hint of garlic are great added to all sorts of things. They flower later in the season, usually around July to September, and are much loved by bees and some butterflies and daytime moths. Neither of these kinds of chive are too happy when my sandy soil is really dry, except of course for the ones which have happily self seeded in my really dry, compacted soil under the gravel!

Jersey Tiger Moth on garlic chives

Gatekeeper butterfly

Of the ornamental varieties the only kind I have here at the moment is Allium sphaerocephalon which is my favourite. They grow very tall but take up little room at ground level, unlike some of the larger leaved and flowered varieties. They look brilliant in mid summer poking up above or in amongst other lower growing flowers. Bees just crawl all over them too!

Just looking stunning in amongst the Rudbeckia

I saw this wonderful creature last year - after a bit of research I discovered it is a Spotted Longhorn Beetle (Rutpela maculata) - I'm assuming all that dust all over him/her is pollen! The larvae feed on decaying wood (all the more reason to leave some rotting log piles around) and the adult beetles are often found around woodland edges and clearings feeding on pollen and nectar of various flowers. I love interesting looking and coloured insects, and all the better when I do manage to ID them!


  1. One plant I can't find here is Welsh onions. They are a sort of clump of perennial onions and are brilliant, but I just can't locate any.

  2. Can't you get some when you are in England?

  3. Your garden looks just beautiful,congratulations on a very interesting blog.

  4. Many thanks for your comments BC, I appreciate it! xx

  5. Just lovely garden plants you have there. Keep planting more as well as inspiring readers to come up with their own beautiful garden.