Some Allium events

Jane McGary
Tue, 06 May 2008 22:41:27 PDT
Thank goodness I had read about the bad behavior of Allium triquetrum, 
because it was very pretty in the wild (in Spain) and tempting because it 
was flowering in considerable shade -- but I knew not to look for seeds!

Allium unifolium behaves better for me here in western Oregon than it does 
for Mary Sue in coastal California, but it hasn't escaped its original 
spot, nor has European A. moly, sometimes considered invasive. The one that 
does get around here is A. carinatum ssp. pulchellum (Mark McD, correct me 
if that's not the currently accepted name), which produces "fireworks" 
flowerheads in late summer, in lavender or white. In a naturalistic garden 
such as mine (that is code for "messy"), it's a valuable plant because of 
its showy (good for cutting) flowers and unusual season of bloom, but I 
won't be taking it when I move to a smaller garden. It has little foliage 
and gets about 12 inches/30 cm tall on stiff stems, so it can be grown 
among other, low plants.

Many years ago I got seed misidentified as A. campanulatum from the 
Robinetts' list and grew plants that have become a little 
over-enthusiastic. I believe they were tentatively identified a couple of 
years ago as A. membranaceum. The scapes are about 6 in/15 cm tall, and the 
relatively large inflorescence is pale pink; they make a mass of flowers in 
late June and also a mass of bulbs below ground. Another long-term survivor 
from that seed order is A. hyalinum, correctly identified in this case and 
by no means a pest, a tiny species happy in stiff, unirrigated soil.

The real A. campanulatum is a treasure and comes in some excellent dark 
forms obtainable as seed from Ron Ratko. A pair of rather similar and 
excellent American species are A. pluricaule and A. falcifolium; I notice 
one (I think the former) coming up from a stray seed in a sand bed. A. 
amplectens, a showy pink American native, has seeded about in the bulb 
frame and should do all right outdoors.

Because I spread discarded potting soil from the bulb collection on the 
garden, I get many surprises after a few years; I see both Fritillaria 
whittallii and F. messanensis blooming in the same sand bed, presumably 
from stray seeds, and even my beloved Anemone palmata producing its 
brilliant yellow flowers, albeit on stems shorter than it manages with a 
bit of protection.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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