HELEN LANG: Strange and wonderful things can happen in the garden

In a moment of weakness I bought a small package of something with a terrible last name.

In a moment of weakness I bought a small package of something with a terrible last name.

It sounds like a cross between a communicable disease and a foreign spy agency. The first name is familiar — allium — which is also part of the name attached to some onions. I have some wonderful alliums, pale blue, about three feet tall and slightly perfumed called allium giganteum. These are supposed to be between 16 and 24 inches tall and are purple.

I don’t know what possessed me, I’m not even fond of purple as a colour, but I suppose it was curiosity, never having grown them before.

These new ones are allium sphaerocephalon (can you believe it?) and should have been planted when normally you plant daffodils and tulips — but we’ll see what happens.

One year I found a package of daffodil bulbs lurking behind a bag of soil on a February afternoon. Everyone knows daffodil bulbs should be planted in the fall but I planted these that day and, believe it or not, they bloomed just a little later than their relatives that spring. If they had not been planted the bulbs would have shrivelled up to nothing, so some strange and wonderful things can happen in a garden.

Let’s hope the same thing will happen to these poor neglected alliums. You’ll be bound to hear what does happen as there is not a lot of excitement going on in my small balcony garden, dear readers, so their progress will be reported alongside the exciting news of the first dandelion seen on the Peninsula and the opening of Parliament in Ottawa.

 

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.