Some Allium events

Jim McKenney
Tue, 06 May 2008 05:48:32 PDT
Mary Sue wrote: “These discussions on what grows well for some and not so
well for others 
and is a problem for others are very interesting. I'm amazed that Jim 
McKenney is so enthusiastic about Allium triquetrum.”

The enthusiasm I was expressing was based on the appearance of the plant: I
know nothing yet about its behavior as a garden plant in our climate. Since
I’ve known about the plant for decades, this first time blooming in the
garden allowed me to close a long open  chapter.  

But since two of the responses to my mention of Allium triiquetrum have been
in the form of heartfelt warnings about its invasive potential, you’ve not
got me wondering if I’ve introduced another lesser celandine. 

I have a hunch that if it’s as bas as some of you are suggesting, it would
already be here: after all, it’s a species long in both cultivation and in
commerce, and people have been planting bulbs here for centuries. 

Our climate is not particularly bulb friendly. For instance, there are very
few bulbs in the native flora. In the centuries during which people have
gardened in this area, relatively few bulbs have jumped the fence and
established themselves in the local flora.  

I hope that turns out to be true for Allium triquetrum, too.

Mary Sue also commented on the difficulty of keeping various Allium in her
garden when they are planted in the ground. The various Allium I’ve tried
over the years seem to take care of themselves pretty well, sometimes under
conditions which surprise me. For instance, I have plants of Allium
cristophii which have been in a thickly planted, raised, relatively shaded
bed for years – and they continue to do well. In fact, it’s a curious thing
but most of the big middle eastern Allium seem to do better here in shady
areas of the garden than is the sunniest parts. In the very sunny areas they
seem much more prone to various bulb rots; in the shade the persist
indefinitely. That is true of garden tulips, too: in the sunny areas they do
not persist, but in the shady areas they often do. 

A few years ago I saw a local garden where Allium zebdanense had made itself
at home, but hardly to the point of being a pest. The only Allium which is
likely to be a pest here (other than Allium vineale in the lawn)  is Allium
tuberosum, but that one is so useful in the kitchen that few will complain
too much about that.  

More onions, please!

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7, where it's holy moly time again.
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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