Saturday, May 23, 2015

Gladiator Parade

Very cool out. It is sunny but the air is only in the mid 60s with a stiff breeze, so it's sweater weather.

With bright sun and big breezes, the half inch of rain from a few days ago is long gone and we're pretty dry again. I water the new plantings and we're running the sprinklers.

I had very specific design goals for a planting of Alliums along the driveway. The last two autumns I have put in several dozen Allium 'Gladiator' bulbs, a lavender purple globe onion.

I wanted these tall soldiers to march up the length of the driveway garden, right up the middle, forming a parade of striking forms in May.

Mostly that is working although I have to move some bulbs around to get them out from under the doublefile viburnum where they are crowded. And the parade could stretch a little longer through the whole bed. I'll move some bulbs after flowering is done.

They were planted under the branches of fragrant sumac, which leafs out very late, so the design intent was to have the onions featured in May, and have their deteriorating foliage hidden when the sumac's leaves came out.

That's working pretty well as designed, although you can't really hide the crappy foliage completely.

I also included some white globes, to soften the purple parade. I interspersed Allium 'Mt. Everest' among the purple globes. It's a muted creamy white, and not as big or as tall as 'Gladiator'.

That's not really working as I planned. The white ones are lost. They are pale and smaller and hard to even see, so they don't really provide any contrast.

Overall I like the effect, though. I can move a few around and improve the length of the parade, and that will be a little better. Globe alliums are such oddities -- so tall and structural and so much like soldiers marching along in step.

I have my own Memorial Day parade right here in my garden.


  1. I absolutely love them!! And standing and marching alone they carry there weight visually in the bed! I have been admiring these for some time and now I am inspired by your post to get these in!! Happy gardening friend! Nicole xo

    1. They do catch people's attention. . . such oddities. Plant some big purple ones and enjoy!