Bulbs - Fabulous Foliage
(PBS Topic Of the Week,
March 24 2004)
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||Allium 'Blue Eddy', my selection from
the popular A. senescens var. glaucum,
or spiral onion. many alliums have striking
foliage, and this clone is no exception with
swirling rosettes of silvery-blue foliage. The
pale pink flowers in September finish in
second place compared to the foliage
Allium - section
(A. backhousianum in this thumbnail)
- many Alliums species from this section
have short-lived yet handsome foliage in
their short spring season. The incredible
A. karataviense (shown below) is within
'Ivory Queen' -
A. karataviense is incredibly variable, or
so I've learned in recent years. This cultivar
has become popular in the last few years,
a pure white form, with gorgeous waxy,
pleated leaves in silvery blue-green shades.
If it never bloomed I'd still grow it, but of
course, the flowers are great too.
Allium nutans - select
wide leaf form -
This is an amazing plant, most definitely
grown for the great swirling leaves of blue-
gray. The foliage is exceedingly thick and
succulent for an Allium. The globes of
white flowers are nice, but the plant looks
best when not flowering.
Allium schoenoprasum 'Curly
A novelty to be sure, this peculiar form of
chives is highly unusual. For many weeks
in spring it makes remarkable hummocks
of prostrate, spiraling, Octopus-like foliage.
The mass of grayish-lavender blooms in
early summer are nice too, but they spoil
the unique foliar effect.
Allium schoenoprasum -
here's a seedling from 'Curly Mauve', even
more bizarre, prostrate and curled than it's
parent! In spring, the absolutely flat curling
growth is most conspicuous.
Arisaema kishidae -
One of the hardy
aroids. It seems that many of the Asian
species can be found in both green and
highly ornamental variegated forms. This
one has striking, thick-textured variegated
foliage that makes a statement in the
garden. Low, 6-8" tall foliage is stiff and
broader than tall.
Arisaema ringens' -
it's definitely the
leaves that are the main attraction on this
magnificent species. Each three-part leaf
is huge, waxy, and glossy green, lasting
well into the summer.
- the leaves are
plain green on this stately 6' (2 meter)
giant species, but the leaflets are so
numerous and have such substance, that
they demand attention in the summer
Arisaema serratum and
variegated forms of each. Beautiful
mottled forms of two hardy Asian Arisaema
species. Photographed in Marsha
- this common
Allium relative is remarkable on account
of its ghostly silvery-blue foliage that is
3-sided, sharply edged, with the leaves
twisting as they ascend, as if crafted from
wrought iron. The effect is short-lived but
nonetheless fantastic when in full leafage.
Trillium decumbens -
species have attractive mottled foliage, but
none impress me like this species, where
the three silvery green leaves are virtually
stemless, the leaf rosettes sitting just
above the soil level.
Tulipa vvedenskyi -
Some of the species
tulips have crinkly foliage, but none more
so than this reptilian species. It didn't
produce it's orange flowers for me, but
that's ok, the foliage was amusing all the
All photos by Mark McDonough
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page was last updated on 09/18/04