Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Upper South

May, 2007
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Ornamental Onions
The allium, or onion, family is one of my favorites, both in the kitchen and in the flower garden. Chives and garlic chives are dual purpose, with edible leaves and beautiful flowers, but there are dozens that strictly fall into the ornamental category. Some are diminutive, growing less than a foot tall, while others are giants reaching over 4 feet. The small flowers are usually lavender or purple, but there are also white, pink, and yellow ones. Although each flower may not be very large, the rounded clusters can be dramatic, with some up to 12 inches across. 'Gladiator' and 'Globemaster' are two widely available, tall-growing varieties with large flower heads. These large-flowered types are also good for drying. One of my favorites is Allium schubertii, which forms a 12-inch globe that resembles fireworks going off. Most alliums bloom in the spring. For the most stunning effect in the garden, plant them in clusters of at least three bulbs.

Tool or Gardening Product

Labels and Label Maker
Adding sturdy, attractive, long-lasting labels to your garden helps you keep track of what you're growing as well as your successes and failures. Office supply stores offer a range of label-making machines. Be sure to get one that can use the outdoor tape. One of the best sources for metal garden labels is Paw Paw Everlast Label Company ( They offer ten different styles and sizes.


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