Not the time for sowing seeds one might expect and I have been intimidated by alliums self seeding as pernicious weeds underneath our beech hedge. Still, in for a penny, in for a pound or rather less in this case. Allium carinatum subsp. pulchellum, or more mystically witch’s garlic, is a late flowering, exploding firework of an allium, photographed here on 27th August at Wentworth Castle Gardens. What the image does not do is capture the bees and hover flies that thronged the tiny, bead-like flowers. Truly it was an entrancing sight in the summer sun and despite no label displayed I chased up the name to discover this flowering onion from Mediterranean climes, perhaps the latest in flower of its type. This is not an expensive bulb if rather hard to find. However there was some straggling growth discarded by the tidying gardening team on a visit there last week. Hence today’s seed sowing as the winter light faded. I read that there needs to be some frosting for the seed to be viable. There was much more about propagation complete with diagrams and figures which I disregarded. As my beech hedge garlic is illiterate yet still plagues me mercilessly, I hope for similar fertility in this case. Something to look out for in the spring after what promises to be a damp squib of a Christmas.

2 thoughts on “Allium carinatum subsp. pulchellum – exploding firework

  1. I have assiduously avoided alliums for many years – those nice small species so often seen in Alpine gardening society circles which ever so quickly become weeds to be chased year after year in hopes of eventual elimination. Nonetheless, we grow several of the larger cultivars which do very well here and don't invade too much.

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  2. Correct, Paddy. The giant ones are easy to control and showy. They do reproduce rapidly however and there's one large specimen that simply takes over – allium triquetrum. It appeared by magic in the garden and disappeared after hard work over two years.

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