I don’t think it is a surprise I like to incorporate alliums into my garden designs, if you follow my instagram you will see how many times this summer I shared photos of the alliums in my garden at home. Their tall round heads are great foils to the feathery and soft perennials I like to design with. They also have a strong color and great post bloom structure, on top of being deer and rodent resistant. (I have some dam chipmunks that have run a muck in the beds surrounding our garage, I am pretty sure they ate my fritillarias).
Purple Sensation alliums planted along the drive at our offices. These bulbs have been planted for at least 4 years now, if not longer and still come back year after year.
This is perennial bed runs the length of our house between the drip edge and the patio space. Globe Boxwoods create the structure to a wave of perennials that are repeated down the bed. The Purple Sensation alliums here have gone past bloom, but the seed heads remain to provide extra depth to the mix of floral shapes.
Same bed as above, however here you can see how the blooms are glowing in the low sunlight.
A few years ago I created two gardens featuring alliums in partnership with Longfield Gardens (Bountiful Blooms and Daring Forms). This year to align with the time for ordering and planting allium bulbs (plant in the fall for summer bloom), I am sharing the design of the perennial border at my house which features three different allium bulb varieties. The difference from this design from the previous two, you can see what the actual planted garden looks like and how alliums interact with the other perennials.
This bed sits at the end of our end of long, defined rectangular turf backyard. I completed the initial planting back in 2016, with this being the third year for the garden. The bed sits in front of the hedge of Spring Grove (R) Western Arborvitae, which provides the back wall for this border to flourish. The planting design of the bed evolves from spring through summer and into fall with the textures and colors constantly moving.
The bed features Purple Sensation and Mount Everest alliums as some of the earliest color in the bed, along with the Salvia nemorosa ‘Wesuwe’ and Penstemon ‘Prairie Twilight’. Additional structure is added to the border with a mix of old wagon wheels added to give an additional texture, form and height to the garden.
Here is a design of the bed with the alliums and perennials used. When I first planted the garden I included a boxwood edging around the perimeter, but I have since relocated them to surround the cutting garden area on the other side of the arborvitae. The alliums were placed in the bed after the planting of all the perennials. They are easy to add to existing beds, since the fall planting allows you to get in between the browning off foliage.
Here is the bed later in the summer (Late June) where the Purple Sensation and Mount Everest alliums have moved towards seed along with the Salvia nemorosa ‘Wesuwe’ also moving past peak bloom.
Later in August the perennial Allium ‘Milenium’ is in full bloom (note this is not a bulb allium) and the allium Drumkstick have just past their prime and moved to seed. I don’t know why I don’t have a good photo of the Drumkstick alliums in bloom, but is on my list for next year to get.
Finally here is the border in September, when all the blooms have completed and it is really a border about texture. The foreground is the Calamintha nepeta spp. glandulosa ‘White Cloud’ and the great silvery blue texture in the background is the Panicum amorum ‘Dewey Blue’.
Here is a close up of the Drumstick allium flowers as the transition to seed heads and all the mix of textures that are layered around each other.
Here is a complete breakdown of the border with photos and the he design. I enjoy this border at home and being able to watch it change almost daily with the session of blooms and texture throughout the season. If you go so far as installing the garden and want the wagon wheels art work, I have a few more I have made ready to go!
If you have any additional questions about how to incorporate alliums into your garden, how to plant or where to order, Longfield Gardens is an amazing source and expert in alliums and all other bulbs. Check out their blog post on how to combine alliums with perennials and they had some great Instagram photos for how to plant. Also all the bulbs I have featured here have come from Longfield, so I you can see the quality you will receive with their product.