As perennial plant gardeners, one of the things we learn over time is how each plant behaves. There are perennials that look great before and after flowering (Heuchera) and those that look terrible once they’ve finished blooming (Penstemon ‘Huskers Red’). There are plants that flop open, exposing woody centers in mid-summer (Artemisia silver mound) and those that keep their form from spring to fall (Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’). The gardener learns to work with each plants personality and habits.
One flower that draws my eye at this time of year are alliums. In 2015 I had the pleasure of being at Moss Mountain when Allen’s Allium were in flower, and I had an immediate attack of plant lust. I came home and immediately put in an order for several types from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.
But although the developing seeds on Allium plants are lovely, most of these plants have an unfortunate characteristic… their foliage begins to brown and die even as the flowers are just opening.
The key to using Allium in the garden successfully is to plant them in and among other perennials that are robustly growing when the bulbs bloom but not yet so tall as to obscure their flowers. So daylilies, for example, make the perfect garden companions for Allium bulbs.