Alliums in the formal beds

I planted 1000 allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’ in the front two formal beds in autumn 2008.

26th April 2009 First year after planting the alliums

All have now disappeared sadly; rather than replant I have decided to scatter seed from a wild allium that grows on the road verges and in the area outside the gate.  I have been sprinkling the seed already for the last couple of years but it obviously needs a year or two for the seed to produce a plant large enough to give flowers.  This year there is a small group of flowers which poke satisfyingly above the growing Perovskia.  I like the effect, maybe even more than the cultivated variety.  So I am now noting carefully where I see them growing wild so I can hopefully pick them when the seeds are ripe and spread them throughout the 4 formal beds, I realise it will take some time before the beds are overflowing with the lovely blobs of purple, but I can sometimes be patient!

There are actually many more than you can see here, but they will spread.

I love the contrast between the foliage of the Perovskia and the purple allium

The above image was taken late in the evening, silver of the Perovskia becomes almost blue.

the wind alliums have an even stronger colour than ‘Purple Sensation so I think they will look even better.

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26 thoughts on “Alliums in the formal beds

  1. Hi,

    Beautiful! It’s a shame your purple sensation did not survive; but I think you’ve found an even better solution, and they do look almost identical!

  2. Disappointing that the cultivated alliums don’t remain – same here – but fascinating that you found wild ones to substitute. The effect is very nice.

  3. Planting1,000 bulbs must have been backbreaking, such a shame that they have dwindled. Your wild ones look just as good and should be happier as they are used to your conditions.

  4. What a beautiful idea! The aliums look so good with the Perovskia. You are actually helping the environment as a bonus because the insects are more likely to use the native plants as food. Sorry to go on about the bees but the bumbles loved it when I let my chives flower so they must love your wild alium.

    • Many of my plants are natives or with simple flowers for the bees. There are usually so many different varieties of bbes that an entomologist did a survey trying to identify them all. Christina

      • That must have been so interesting to find out what exactly was buzzing around the garden. I have a lot of bumble bees and carpenters and have identified a few other solitary bees but I have the feeling that there is not a great variety.

  5. Hi! we really have those wild alliums in Italy? I didn’t know it before! They look even better that purple sensation, even though loosing 1000 bulbs must have been pretty shocking, I guess!

  6. I love the contrast of the perovskia and the alliums. I have Allium triquetum here, it is the wild cornish garlic,and white, like white bluebells. Spreads alarmingly when happy.

  7. I’ve the same problem with allium purple sensation though I blamed it on Scottish weather – looks like even in warmer climates it struggles to come back year after year. You must have been upset after all the time and effort it took to plant 1000 bulbs. I’ve decided to replant with new bulbs each autumn as I seem to get about a third to come back every year……..though maybe only 30 bulbs. We don’t have a wild variety here that is similar though the garlic white one grows rampantly here but one I wouldn’t want in the garden.

  8. The loss of 1000 bulbs is heartbreaking, but I like your spirit! In the end you will have the same wonderful effect with more enduring flowers. After looking at your previous post as well, I am again struck by the natural beauty of your countryside. Your part of the world is indeed blessed with fabulous wildflowers!

  9. glad this story has a happy ending Christina, I like the wild allium and the colours in your formal beds, 1000 bulbs makes my lost 50 or so fritillia look trival, though 2 did appear after many years also I planted 25 christophie (might have spelt that wrong) alliums last year and nothing now one has appeared, do you think bulbs take time out to bulk up maybe, Frances

    • I think that many comercial bulbs are forced to grow quickly and then die. Some of my allium christophii did come back but nowhere near as many as I planted. Christina

        • To be fair, we want our bulbs to flower the first year we plant them so they need to ensure this happens. I treat all these kinds of bulbs, most tulips, most alliums etc, as annuals now and therefore only spend what I think reasonable for one year. Fritillia is different because these you definately buy to naturalise – there the problem is that maybe they should be planted ‘in the green’. Christina

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