Some Summer Onions of 2007
This year was a particularly good year in the Allium garden, with lots of interesting
developments and surprises, along with the mass of reliable summer bloomers. It is
also a milestone year, marking another 5-7 years of evaluation of Allium hybrids, with 
a number of new hybrids worthy of being named this year.  I do not have a nursery nor
do I sell plants to the public, so please don't ask for them, but I fully intend on making
new Allium hybrid selections available through other nurseries.  It may take a few years
before these plants become available, but part of the reason of showing these plants now 
is to highlight the great potential of this fascinating genus of summer flowering plants.

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[Note:  this large series of 25 galleries is currently under construction.  For those
galleries where there is only a thumbnail and no live link yet, they have been
marked as "gallery forthcoming".  - Mark McD.  8-25-07]

Allium stellatum gallery Allium stellatum, the prairie
onion, is one of the unsung 
beauties among American native
onions.  Growing in central USA,
with Missouri as its center, it can
be found from the southwest up
into Canada, with widespread but
sporadic distribution through many
states & Canadian provinces.

Allium stellatum hybrids

Allium stellatum hybrids - Over
the years a number of surprising
hybrids with A. stellatum have 
appeared.  Not all are worthwhile,
but a good number of them are an
improvement, with higher bud
count and extended bloom times.

Allium cernuum

Allium cernuum  -  People add
one form of "nodding onion" to
their garden and think they have
it.  This species is amazingly
variable, from pallid insignificant
forms to those that are truly bright
and ornamental.  Take a look at
some good ones.

Allium cernuum variability

Allium cernuum variability 
More than just showing a few
color forms and shapes of nodding
onion, there are forms, possibly
hybrid induced, that are a bit more
extreme in their development. Here
are some examples.


Allium cernuum hybrids

Allium cernuum hybrids - similar
to the closely related A. stellatum,
the nodding onion is also willing to
hybridize with nearby congeners.
Some ugly things can result from
such hybrids, but sometimes the
results are very good.

Allium macranthum

Allium macranthum - a lovely
species from China, Bhutan, and
Sikkim.  Unfortunately it is almost
always misidentified in cultivation, 
confused with the North American
nodding onion, Allium cernuum.


Allium hookeri var. muliense

Allium hookeri var. muliense -
For a short while available from
Collector's Nursery (which is now
closed).  A great addition to the
allium garden, for its bright yellow
flowers in July and into August,
held on 24-30" stems. Found in
moist mountain meadows, China.

Allium flavum ssp. tauricum

Allium flavum ssp. tauricum -
What would a summary gallery of
onions be without my favorite, the
rainbow color forms of this Turkish
form of A. flavum.  Shown is a 
particularly bright pink-red color
that first showed up in 2006, and
photographed in 2007.

Allium sieheanum

Allium sieheanum - Different
from what I once grew under this
name from a collection in Turkey,
this plant also comes from Turkey.
Tiny little bell-shaped flowers, but
the long pedicels of the same 
color make an impression. A good
rock garden sort. 

Allium plummerae

Allium plummerae - a species
from high elevation wet meadows
in Arizona and New Mexico. This
is an excellent species for the
sunny garden in good soil, with
refreshing foliage and clean flat-
topped clusters of white flowers.

Triteleia hyacinthina - not an 
onion but closely allied, and for a
while included in the Alliaceae, but
now in the Themidaceae.  This
species has the same effect as a 
good allium, and combines nicely in
the allium garden.
[gallery forthcoming]

Allium beesianum, mairei, & sp. aff. cyaneum

Allium beesianum,  mairei, and
species aff. cyaneum - 3 Chinese
alliums for the onion
for careful culture in a choice spot.
Allium are beautiful additions to the
August-September onion garden.


Allium 'Sugar Melt'

Allium 'Sugar Melt' - This is one
of the first Allium hybrids I named,
and remains one of my absolute
favorites.  Masses of clear pink
hemispherical domes in August
drives bees and butterflies into a
nectar-feeding frenzy.

Allium prattii

Allium prattii - Originally from 
Chen Yi as a different species, this
is my identification of what allium
really is. True red flowers in open
umbels in early July.  For a shady,
moist (yet well drained) spot. Very
attractive arching, strap-shaped

Allium listera

Allium listera - a wonderful small
onion species from China, a slow
grower for a shady, not-to-dry spot
in the garden. This is among a
handful of whimsical Chinese allium
that have broad hosta-like foliage,
fooling all who see the plant (when
not in bloom) into thinking it is
indeed a hosta.

Allium ovalifolium var. ovalifolium

Allium ovalifolium var. 
- Originally from Chen 
Yi as a different species, this is my
identification of what this pretty 
woodland Allium is.  Blooms are
seen in mid July.  The foliage you're
seeing in this thumbnail image, is
that of another Chinese species,
Allium prattii (see gallery above).

Allium victorialis 'Kemerovo'

Allium victorialis 'Kemerovo' -
This is a selected cultivar of the
circumpolar species, named for 
the Kemerovo region of Siberia. It
blooms in June, with the whitish
spheres accented with red pedicels
at the center of each flower head.

Allium new hybrids - Gallery 1

New Allium hybrids 1 - I've been
watching this one for a few years,
finally naming it 'Venus'.  This
August blooming beauty has 
excellent form, particularly striking
in the bud stage lasting many
weeks before eventually opening
the florets in August.

Allium new hybrids - Gallery 2

New Allium hybrids 2 - this 2007
selection named 'Full Orbit' has
exceptionally good flower form, on
a 12" tall stem (will probably get
taller when the plant matures).
Other fine forms go unnamed, but
add to the desirable gene pool for
open pollination.

Allium new hybrids - Gallery 3

New Allium hybrids 3 - with so
many rhizomatous Allium hybrids
characterized by pom-pom heads
of bloom, one looks for unique or
distinctive qualities.  One such
hybrid that I named in 2007 after
several years of observation, is 
'Asteroids'. August blooms, 20" tall.

Allium new hybrids - Gallery 4

New Allium hybrids 4 - one of the
more distinctive rhizomatous Allium
hybrids is named 'Meteor Shower'
which has equally spaced florets
of an intense rose-pink, with a 
noticeable white tip to each bud.
Compact at just 14-16" tall, and
flowering with abandon in August.

Allium hybrid trends - Gallery 1

New Allium hybrid trends 1 -
the first in a series of several major
new trends in hybrids, is that of 
"tallness".  Suddenly we have 
alliums with stems 36" tall, bold
vertical accents that compete with
summer perennials for attention.

Allium hybrid trends - Gallery 2

New Allium hybrid trends 2 -
this represents a surprising new
trend in rhizomatous allium hybrids
having relatively enormous open 
heads of bloom to 4" across, yet on
shorts stems.

Allium caeruleum DBG
[gallery forthcoming]

Allium suaveolens

Allium suaveolens  - Always
usurped by imposters in cultivation,
this modest late-blooming species
is a nice addition to the garden.
Slow growing and shy of increase,
this sweetly scented plant should
be sought out and grown more
often.  My plants seed-grown from
a native locale in East Germany.

Allium garden views 2007

Allium garden views  - a series
of garden views and alliaceous 
vignettes, most taken in July and
August 2007.

All photos by Mark McDonough


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This page was last updated on 09/09/07