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Ornamental onions that won't make you cry!

Wednesday, 29th August, 2018 5:03pm

Margaret Griffin


Alliums are a very distinctive late spring and early summer flowering bulb, being very showy when planted in beds, borders or rock gardens.

Allium bulbs are very easy to grow and complement the modern cottage garden wonderfully, a modern day must-have flower for any top garden designer. They are versatile enough to be able to be grown in borders, flower beds, patio pots and containers, where they really will pack a punch.

They are a must have impact plant for spring and summer. There is such a large range of ornamental onions (as they are fondly known as) including giant spherical varieties such as Allium Gladiator, the silvery lilac Allium Christophii, the sweet white Ivory Queen or the unique Nectaroscordum and more. Now is the time to plant these for flowering next year.

Allium Gladiator - 125cm

This is one of the tallest and most architectural onions with its inflorescence consisting of dozens of small star-shaped reddish-purple flowers forming a six inch globe. The Gladiator holds the Award of Garden Merit and is a fantastically reliable allium. A great tall addition to beds and borders, the beautiful curled green leaves will wither before the flowers appear in early summer, so we recommend accompanying them with low-growing plants to provide filling foliage over the base area.

Atropurpureum - 60cm

These bulbs may not have large flowers like other alliums, but they have eye catching flowers. This beauty naturalises easily and will be back year after year. They are ideal for bees and other pollinators.

Ivory Queen - 20cm

Commonly known as Turkestan Onion, this plant makes a striking garden statement in spring and early summer. It has pom-poms of white flowers produced on unique short stems. This unusual and very ornamental onion has wide, grey-green fleshy leaves, from which a flower spike appears in spring. The flower head - about the size of an orange, is made up of star-shaped white flowers held on a short stocky stem. Due to its height it's ideal for rockeries and pots.

Christophii - 50cm

This is a sun-loving, silver-purple allium that is made from almost a hundred metallic stars arranged in a dazzling sphere -followed by a long-lasting seed head. Also known as Star of Persia, this is the classic, huge-headed sparkler allium, with seed heads almost as good as the flowers.

Giganteum - 150cm

Giganteum, the largest of all alliums produces beautiful, giant purple flowers that resemble lollipops. They flower late spring right when your garden needs them most, after spring flowering bulbs and before summer flowering perennials.

Perfect oddball

Allium Nectaroscorum Siculum is a really unusual ornamental onion, with an umbrella of hanging, bell-shaped, creamy green flowers flushed with lilac on stiff stems in May and June. This tall, exotic-looking, bulbous perennial will add vertical interest in a sunny, well-drained border and thrives in partial shade, too. As the flowers fade, they turn upright to form curious, shuttlecock-like seedheads that extend the season of interest and add a twist to flower arrangements.

On Friday 31 August, enjoy an enchanting evening of music at Griffins Garden Centre in Drispey. Inniscarra Historical Society is presenting its annual summer concert with performances by the High Hopes Choir and other performers throughout the event. Ticket are limited and can be purchased at Griffins and other local shops. All proceeds will be shared between Cork Penny Dinners and Inniscarra Historical Society. To book, phone 021-7334286.

The Slug Clun is starting on 1 September. To book your young enthusiastic gardener in, go to

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