Allium Mellenium

Allium Millenium.

I think I have tried almost all of the horticultural alliums, all to no avail. Chive alliums bloom in the spring when I don’t need them—and then they disappear. Garlic chive alliums bloom at a nice time—August—when our plants are tired but they seed mercilessly all over the garden. The expensive giants, such as ‘Mount Everest’ and ‘Gladiator’ either don’t come up at all or fail to reappear the following year.

Some that seem to thrive in the garden required staking: Simply put, when the staking genes were handed out, I was overlooked. I loathe staking, have no talent for it so my alliums spend way too much time flopping on the ground, looking quite pathetic.

Fortunately, I discovered the allium ‘Millenium’, which has redeemed my gardening reputation when it comes to alliums. This foot high allium is perfect for the front of the perennial border. Roses do well with alliums so I have planted this allium in front of several of my hybrid tea roses, which are spread throughout the garden. Best of all, it blooms for a solid six weeks, beginning in mid-summer.

Truly, if there is a paragon of virtue to be found among alliums, this is the one that should hold that title. It never flops, it has produced no seedlings, and it forms an attractive clump that adds interest to the perennial border even when it’s not in bloom. And being a member of the onion family, wildlife leave it alone. What more can a gardener ask for?

The lavender color goes with my pink and red blooms in the garden but it would also look lovely with orange and yellow flowers. Because it’s only a foot high, there is always a place for it because even the fullest gardens have small spaces available. All it needs is some sun.

The only problem with this allium—ah, you say, there is a catch!—is that it can be hard to find. I first grabbed it at Plant Delights (www.plantdelights.com) where originally it was listed as Allium ‘Millennium” until Plant Delights owner, Tony Avent, realized that the hybridizer had registered it as A. ‘Millenium.’ Consequently you’ll see the name spelled both ways.

Few growers have it. I’ve seen it at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs (www.brentandbeckysbulbs) and I have also bought plugs at Select Seeds (www.selectseeds.com). Don’t be put off by the small size of these plugs—the allium takes off relatively quickly, provided you can give it water on a regular basis during the first month it’s in the ground. With each year the clump will grow in size, supporting more blooms.

This is the perfect accent plant for the garden—and I can finally brag that I can grow an allium.

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