This week’s feature is a mouthful, one unlikely to be spoken while browsing the plant racks at Home Depot or even on the tables of your better nurseries. It’s not particularly showy or amazing, but all the same it’s showy and amazing and I’m glad to have it here in the garden.
This small, summer blooming allium is one of those onions which may surprise gardeners who typically think of flowering onions as mostly purple, and mostly late spring bloomers, but here it is in all its early summer, pastel tones. Mine came via the North American Rock Garden Society seed exchange (another mouthful) and were labeled “ex McDonough”. For those of you not in the onion know, Mark McDonough is the onion man, essentially a global authority on all things allium and if you’re interested he hosts a website called PlantBuzz to which I heartily recommend a visit. If you can’t find anything interesting on his site I’m going to guess you stopped reading my post after the first few sentences, but if you’re still with me give it a click… if only to look at wonder upon the different forms of even something as simple as chives!
Regular plain old Allium flavum (yellow onion) doesn’t have the range of pale, pink, and rusty tones which the subspecies tauricum shows, but I think they’re both equally easy to grow. Mine were planted in February of 2013, the pot went outdoors and the seeds came up that spring. The first flowers showed the year after and other than digging and spreading the clump out a bit two years ago they’ve been plugging along in a full sun spot ever since with no help from me.
For as easy to grow as they are you would think they could be a pest, but I have yet to see a single seedling come up on its own. They just politely do their thing and all I do is clean up a few dead leaves and flower stems once flowering is finished… they are an evergreen onion, so there’s some foliage all year even after things die down a bit in August.
Keep your eyes open for A. flavum ssp tauricum and grab it if you have the chance. Also if you have the chance, give Cosmos and Cleome a visit to see what Kimberly and other bloggers are featuring this Thursday. Each week she encourages us to focus on a single plant and it’s fun seeing which favorites show up on other gardener’s blogs You’re more than welcome to join, and if you do leave a link on Kimberley’s blog so we can come find you!