Plant of the month – June

allium-1370691-638x475Botanical name: Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’

Common name: Dutch garlic

Size: 90cm tall


This is one of the ornamental members of the allium family which includes onions, garlic and chives, and for me is one of the most valuable in the garden. It bridges the gap nicely between spring flowering and summer flowering plants, coming into leaf in spring and then flowering from May into June. Its tall, bold structure works well with all sorts of different plants. It looks amazing with yellow, and is often planted beneath tunnels of Laburnum × watereri ‘Vossii’ to great effect. If yellow isn’t your thing, alliums also look great with other colours, particularly pinks and whites. Peonies and alliums are often planted together. They work well in prairie planting schemes amongst grasses and other perennials, and in gravel gardens. Their striking form enhances both contemporary and more traditional planting schemes.

Where to plant
Alliums prefer full sun but will tolerate a little shade. What they do need is, fertile, well-drained soil. The leaves tend to get a little scruffy before flowering begins so under-planting with grasses or herbaceous perennials like geraniums disguises this effectively.

How to grow
Plant bulbs 15cm deep and 15cm apart in autumn. Adding grit to the planting hole will aid drainage. Large clumps can be divided in spring or autumn. After flowering the stems can be cut back to the base, but I prefer to leave them in-situ throughout the year as they look great with a touch of frost in the winter.

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