Alliums are showing up all over the city this month – those Dr. Seuss-like blooms that perch on bare stems. They’re a member of the onion genus and their graphic form makes them a dramatic spring and summer bloom. (See an earlier post for an image of them in one of our garden designs.)

Last year, I got Allium-obsessed. I ordered all the varieties from my favorite catalog, planted them in a willing recipient’s yard (thanks Grandma), and photographed their growth from bulb to bloom.

Bloom times, color, size, height and shape vary with the variety. To illustrate all the differences, I set up an Allium lab in the studio kitchen.

These are the early bloomers which you’re likely to see in gardens now.

First Row (Left To Right): A. Gladiator, A. Aflatunense Purple Sensation, A. Stipitatum White Giant

After a week or so, I had a whole new group in bloom, which I added in front of the first.

Second Row: A. Triquetrum, A. Bulgaricum, A. Globemaster, A. Schoenoprasum Pink Giant, A. Stipitatum Mount Everest

Later, I added blooms from the mid-late bloom group.

Third Row: A. Multibulbosum, A. Firmament, A. Unifolium, A. Atropurpureum, A. Ostrowskianum, A. Albopilosum

And for the finale, the late-bloomers, which include my favorite – the spiny one in the foreground called Allium shubertii, sometimes known as “the firework flower”.

Fourth Row: A. Azureum, A. Schubertii, A. Hair

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