So when we put in the new driveway it was widened a bit, which made the narrow strip of lawn between the driveway and the Crabapple Bed even narrower and more pointless-looking. So last year I said to myself, why not take up that last bit of lawn and plant bulbs? Alliums, specifically, which were much on my mind at the time. So I did.
Specifically, I planted 25 Star of Persia (A. christophii) and 25 A. caesium. These both come into flower in early June (A. caesium a few days after A. christophii), after A. ‘Purple Sensation’ has gone over. Star of Persia is about 2′ tall with stout stems, A. caesium is 12-18″ with much narrower stems.
This is the first time I have planted A. caesium. I love the blue flowers, though they are not as large as the catalog indicated. The centers are a pale blue, with darker blue veining. Unfortunately, I think I need to move them to the west-facing side of the bed. Right now they are shaded by the foliage of other plants and I suspect they do not get enough sun. Also, not sure this plant should spread out in a narrow strip along the driveway, which to my eye works better with Star of Persia.
We’ve had a handful of Star of Persia for a few years, ever since we saw it in a bunch of gardens at the Garden Bloggers Fling in Portland OR. Now they have a more substantial presence.
Judy was especially enchanted by the silvery-purple flowerheads, which look good even when they go to seed.
The flowerheads in our garden range from about 6″ to 10″ across.
Of course, it’s not just the size and color of the flowerhead that is striking. It’s also the loose starburst quality, as of a silvery galaxy in formation.
We planted these Star of Persia closer together than we were supposed to, but I think they still look good.
One thing I haven’t worked out with these bulbs is an effective underplanting. I transplanted some Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum) that were struggling in another area. Not sure if that will work or not. Also planted some Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) seeds with mixed results. I will have to keep thinking about this. Any suggestions?
On a totally different front, we have Chickadees building a nest in the new birdhouse hanging by the back porch window. We recently spent several hours watching the little black-capped birds flitting in and out of their new home with beaks full of moss and other nesting material. Judy took this picture through the window with her phone.
I would point out this is a genuine Chicago birdhouse, as its a two flat.
There are several more Allium species in our garden that bloom later in the summer. I guess I went through a brief Allium phase, but I’m over it now. There are so many other genera to obsess over.