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Alliums! All about Allium Bulbs

By Graham Clarke This has been a great year (so far) for ornamental onions. For several years now, Alliums have been the ‘must have’ plant for many gardeners, and you can see why – I fell in love with them 20 years ago, and would never be without several new types each year. In books and catalogues they are referred to as alliums, and they produce their wonderful flowers in May and June, after the flourish of spring bulbs and before the exuberance of summer. They hold their colour for several weeks and once that fades, many of them have striking seed heads. Hardy and easy to grow, they stand up straight, usually without needing any support, and they come...

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Tulip Gavota and Tulip Slawa - a Story to Tell

Did you think that all the best Tulip hybrids were Dutch? A great many of them are, but the mystery and magic of the Tulip has also intrigued master-growers from other countries. Among the products of patient plant breeding from outside the Netherlands, Tulip Gavota is among the most striking. But something exciting happened to it in The Netherlands. Read on for the full story. Czech it Out! The names Gavota and Slawa may already have given you a hint: they come from the Czech Republic! But Gavota is the one that comes directly from that country, while Slawa’s story has a twist in the tale. We’ll keep you in suspense a little longer for that! If the idea of...

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Narcissus Thalia: Snow White Queen of the Spring

England loves its gardens, and Narcissus Thalia is loved by the gardeners who create them. Famed for its showy, pristine white blooms and delicate but unmistakable fragrance as well as its elegant but not overbearing height, it graces gardens and vases without requiring a great deal of pampering or special know-how. Moderate watering requirements and adaptability that allows it to thrive in full sun or light shade are among the traits that allow even gardening neophytes to enjoy success with Thalia. Country gardeners who struggle with deer and rabbit incursions will be glad to know that they don’t like Narcissi, and even if they do damage them, recovery is almost certain. Likewise, Narcissus Thalia is not a favourite of insect...

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Allium Purple Sensation: A New Gardening Trend

Just about anywhere you look, you’ll find horticulturists saying that Alliums are under-appreciated. But that seems to be changing. Allium Purple Sensation is becoming one of our most popular flower bulbs as UK gardeners jostle to get these sensational plants for their gardens. Let’s take a closer look at this stunner of a plant to see why modern gardening enthusiasts are becoming such big fans. Dutch Garlic? Persian Onion? What’s in a name? In botany, a plant’s name gives us lots of information, but can also lead us astray. Anyone with a smattering of botanical knowledge will know that “Allium” is the Latin name for onions and garlic. And since the Dutch are such big players in the flower bulb...

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Botanical Tulips: Everything You Need to Know

Have you ever grown botanical tulips? What makes them “botanical” and why should you consider growing them? Let’s start with the basics: why are these tulips called “botanical tulips”? Botanical vs. Hybrid The plants we find growing in the wild have bred naturally. They don’t necessarily aim for the same things people would breed plants for such as large flowers or unusual colours. Instead, they are focused on survival. That doesn’t mean they can’t be pretty. Attracting pollinators means that a plant has to look like it has something to offer an insect, and sometimes, the colours and patterns it evolves naturally are very pleasing to the human eye too. When people find beautiful plants in their natural habitat and...

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