Not in My Garden (Probably)

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

Over at A Study in Contrasts, Kim started “Not in My Garden”: a fun discussion about plants, ornaments, and design features she’d never add to her garden. I’ve been pondering this topic for several weeks now. Every time I think “Yes! That’s something I’d never have!”, I realize that I actually do have it (and no, I’ll never tell exactly where that gnome is hiding, but it’s here, and it’s staying). Or, it’s something that maybe I would have if I could afford it, but I pretend I don’t want it since I can’t have it. But I think I’ve finally settled on something I’ll never probably not ever deliberately add to my garden: Allium ‘Hair’.

Allium wild garlic 2 June 19 07

Now, I’m not saying it’s not delightfully bizarre-looking: It truly is. When it first showed up in bulb catalogs a few years ago, I was ready to pull out my checkbook and place my order. After all, some sources were claiming that it was a mutation of drumstick chives (Allium sphaerocephalon), which is definitely near the top of my most-loved list, so I figured this too was a must-have.

A few months later, though, I noticed that some strikingly similar plants were already growing in abundance in the meadows all over our farm. I knew that the plants we had were the common wild garlic (A. vineale), and I realized that nearly all of them showed this same trait. Hmmm.

While most sources still list the name simply as Allium ‘Hair’, some do now list the full name as A. vineale ‘Hair’. So, it is just a selection of wild garlic! Well, that settles it: I’m not buying these bulbs, simply because I already spend way too much time pulling wild garlic out of my gardens. I guess it’s not the worst garden weed, because it’s dormant for the main part of the growing season. But from September through June, the grassy, oniony-smelling leaves shooting up here and there require endless pulling, and the tiny bulbs are difficult to dig out completely. Perhaps it’s not so bad in other parts of the country? If any of you have been growing it for a few years without it becoming weedy, I’d love to hear it. Maybe, just maybe, you can convince me that I really do need it after all.

Nancy J. Ondra
Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.
Nancy J. Ondra

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Kim October 3, 2007, 7:47 pm

Heh… I have a strange fascination with alliums, but never realized that ‘Hair’ is a wild garlic! (My drumstick alliums I love, and the ivory a. karativiense is high on my wishlist.)

You could definitely have included the things you love buy cannot afford in your NIMG list, by the way. All of what I listed were things that I appreciate but will never have–not in this garden, at least. 🙂 Thanks for joining the fun!

Nancy J. Ondra October 3, 2007, 8:43 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Kim. Ok, next time I see something to add to my when-I-win-the-lottery list, I’ll chime in again. And yes, you really need to try Allium karataviense ‘Ivory Queen’. I’m not sure which I liked better: the flowers or the seedheads. Now, if *that* allium would self-sow, I’d be a happy camper!

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