Last May I had the pleasure of being in P. Allen Smith’s gardens at Moss Mountain. (Bucket list advice: attend a workshop or go on one of his open days. His gardens are a must-see experience, and Little Rock is a must-visit location. GO.) Several of his flower gardens contained alliums in full flower or interesting seed pods, and I was immediately smitten with a case of plant lust.
So as soon as I got home I went on Brent and Becky’s Bulbs website and ordered several varieties. That’s the key with alliums, I’ve found. You have to order them in the spring so that in the fall, once you’ve forgotten all about allium and you’re thinking about other plants, they automatically arrive in the mail. Which was what happened to me. I ordered the bulbs in early summer and they came at the perfect time for planting in the fall. Now that they’re in flower in my gardens, I’m congratulating myself for planting them.
I ordered ‘White Giant,’ ‘Ambassador,’ A. schubertii, and ‘Early Emperor.’ I’m thinking that this year I might put in another order for ‘Firmament’ and ‘Purple Sensation.’
Here’s what you need to know about Allium plants: the foliage starts to brown and die down even before the flowers open completely. So the best thing to do is to plant them in and among other perennials that will hide, or distract, from the declining foliage that’s under these magical flowers. Thanks to Allen Smith and Brent and Becky Heath, I’m smiling every time I look at my gardens right now.