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At this time of year Thompson Morgan has a sale of 100 alliums for just under £6. I took the offer last year and have ordered 2 packs this year, so I have 200 allium bulbs to plant in the border.

The allium flowers look great, but, as I am very new to gardening, I am not sure how to cover the gaps between them in the border. What type of plants should I be looking for? Is ground cover (phlox) the correct type or will this impede the ability of the bulb to flower?

Caeruleum        0.5-1.0 m  10 bulbs
Neopolitanum     0.25 m     25 bulbs
Roseum           0.5m       20 bulbs
Sphaerocephalon  0.5-1.0 m  39 bulbs
Purple Sensation 0.5-1.0 m  3 bulbs
Mount Everest    0.9m       3 bulbs

It is this product 100 alliums.

I have also just found last years collection it was:

Caeruleum                      10 bulbs
Neopolitanum                   20 bulbs
Sphaerocephalon     30cm       44 bulbs
ostrowskanium                  20 bulbs
Purple sensation    90cm        3 bulbs
Christophii                     3 bulbs

Warning

Based on Bamboos input to this topic *neapolitanum * is actually a wild garlic and invasive likely should be avoided in a garden.

Just to be clear that this was NOT included in the pack by Thompson and Morgan, it was a typo on my part and they actually included neopolitanum. With a neo and not nea.


Some pictures From last years planting: Unfotunately not found any picture from when they were all at there best, but the current set of late bloomers still have colour.

enter image description here

I believe the grey fronds are from an allium but now big show bulb has appeared. Or it is a weed. The big daisy type plant is a perennial that I did plant. enter image description here

And an overall view of the garden (for Stormy) Alliums planted on the right along the side of the fence, roughly the middle third of the fence : enter image description here

  • What variety of Allium are they? – Bamboo Aug 21 '15 at 10:49
  • Morgan!! You have a wonderful yard and beginning!! Oh my!! A few fun things I could put on your 'honeydew' list!! The lawn/soil needs to be 4" or at least not in contact with your fences. I'd aerate this year...but you could have the best plant beds in that lawn!! Use the lawn itself as pathways and create 3' wide by 12' long or whatever raised beds for potatoes, allium starts...whatever!! Use a sod cutter, use the sod upside down on plant beds, double dig and you'll have at least 2' high beds that'll settle down to 6 - 8" beds. Plant green cover crops for this winter!! – stormy Sep 9 '15 at 20:44
  • Definitely use the sod cutter to make more area for plants and clean the perimeter of grass, weeds and foo-foo perennials. Do you want a garden, need lawn for kids, some privacy...? Use the sod to build up plant beds. I love your 'potting' area!! There is a super book on vegetable gardening in lawns by...I want to say Michael Dirr. I know he is a major woody perennial guy, but...I just have to say you've got LOTS more room than I imagined and GREAT looking soil, exposure...definitely to grow anything you wanted! Perhaps another question...grins! Isn't Bamboo a great resource?! – stormy Sep 9 '15 at 20:55
  • Cheers @stormy, My first garden and wanting to do it all. Quiet private area for sitting, reading relaxing, morning coffee on those days it is not raining. Lawn for kids (Daughter is 5 months), and some are for intensive vegetable and fruit growing. So this year has been a bit hectic so far. Had to shift about 8 tonnes of soil to create the main level section on the garden you see. Apart from buying the two arch kits have done all the joinery myself. The plants have mostly been left to them selves while I got on with the hard landscaping. – Morgan Sep 9 '15 at 22:02
  • Nope, Morgan. I'm on a few others but not trying to drum up business right now! Enjoying...ummmm...hard to say the word...retirement! If you want to send me a sketch of your property as is and one of your ideas I could do a casual complimentary consult. I've got a couple projects I've committed to and I found I am up to my armpits preserving and wintering my year's produce/plants. Came on way sooner than last year's did! But I'd love to help if I can! stormytrails@gmail.com – stormy Sep 10 '15 at 19:51
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I'll take them in order then

A. caeruleum isn't hardy - you'll need to pot them and keep somewhere frost free over winter. A. neopolitanum (wild garlic) is highly invasive, and unless you're going to eat lots of it, I wouldn't recommend planting in the garden. ( I speak as someone who has spent over 20 years trying to eradicate the stuff from 2 different gardens) A. roseum - no problems, though I find it never actually comes up.

The others shouldn't be a problem, but all alliums like sun and free draining soil, so bear that in mind when planting, along with the height they'll reach. The other thing about Alliums is the leaves - these appear before the flowers, but by the time the flowers arrive, the leaves are already, or starting to, yellow and shrivel. This means Alliums are best planted in amongst other plants, so that their leaves are not noticeable, but the flowers appear above the surrounding greenery. The nature of most of them is to produce a flower on top of a long straight stem - the length of the stem varies with the variety, so that's an important factor to consider when choosing the ideal spot. Something like Purple Sensation can be planted between/behind, say, Lavender and Spiraea Goldmound, so you'll see the purple drumsticks arising above the two shrubs (one grey foliage, one yellow, so quite striking). Alliums aren't great for planting alone, they're always best mixed in with other planting in the border, because of the foliage habit.

There is one other lovely Allium missing from your list - Allium christophii - hardy, large pale silvery lilac airy round flowers, but with shorter stems than Purple Sensation. Deserves a place in every garden in my opinion!

  • Morgan! How did your potatoes go this year? Bamboo's advice is right on...I remember you trying to do potatoes in bags? Yes? Planting BEHIND hardly, low growing perennials is a great idea. You said you planted allium last year, must have turned out well that you are doing it again...gorgeous things and christophii is to die for!! – stormy Aug 22 '15 at 22:54
  • Hi there Morgan! See, I remembered you...hey bummer! Please ask another question concerning your potatoes...I grew potatoes big time this year...in my greenhouse which is kind of a waste but here, our climate is rough. Potatoes did so very WELL. I've got to figure out the best way to store them. But I don't think bags are doing well for you. I've got some ideas, sweetie! I'll look for your question, OK? Send pictures, what is your zone...have you done soil tests? At least send pictures. Potatoes are such a super crop!! Yummm! – stormy Aug 31 '15 at 20:42
  • Thanks @stormy I have setup a new potato question – Morgan Sep 7 '15 at 7:45
  • @stormy added some terrible pisctures took this morning. not looking there best. and the grass needs strimming. – Morgan Sep 9 '15 at 9:58
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    @Morgan - the 'grey stems' you refer to next to the white Daisies (which are dwarf Shasta daisies) appear to be old and finished Forget-me-nots, which do tend to get mildew as they die back, not an Allium.... although there does appear to be an Allium flowerhead in the mix (the purplish pink...) – Bamboo Sep 9 '15 at 13:49

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