Monday, October 17, 2016

The Tiniest Flowers Blooming


Blooming in my garden is the most diminutive of flowers.


These petite purple fireworks are Japanese Ornamental Onions or Allium thunbergii. Native to Japan, Korea and Coastal China, Allium thunbergii can often be found growing at the edge of a woodland. The hollow, grass-like foliage has a mild oniony smell, but does not have any culinary uses.

Allium thunbergii likes really well-drained soil and full sun. Bulbs may be planted in the spring or fall. (I was gifted a few bulbs from a friend. Thanks Donna!) Seeds are best sown in the spring. 

The cultivar Allium thunbergii 'Ozawa' has mauve-purple flowers that are slightly larger than the species. Allium thunbergii 'Alba' has white flowers with yellow anthers and a green centre.


It's hard to get a sense of scale from these closeup shots, so I placed a red apple in front of the flowers. 



That's Piper reaching for what he figures is a ball. His long nose gives you a sense of how small these flowers really are. 

Allium thunbergii reach only 6-12 inches in height and form a clump of about the same size.


Allium thunbergii are prized for being the last of the ornamental onions to flower (anywhere from September to November depending on your garden zone. USDA hardiness zones 4-9). 

Even frost and snow are not a problem for these tiny flowers!

13 comments:

  1. As always you've shared some wonderful photo's.
    This is a most beautiful, tiny flower.

    I do like the close up of piper with the apple!

    All the best Jan

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  2. Piper is adorable! We've had two hard frosts (at least) and it's the middle of October and I still have a clematis blooming! Never in the last 18 years has that ever happened. Global warming indeed - I'm liking it!!

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    1. We are to have a high of 26 degrees today, so things are pretty balmy here too Anne. I like the milder temperatures at this time of year, but I hate the high heat in the summer. We positively baked this year! I think the drought may also has something to do with global warming, so there is definitely a down side.

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    2. Update: My friend Donna, who gave me my allium bulbs, sent me an email to let me know that "Duff's (her husband) honey bees and bumble bees almost cover them in the afternoon. They are a wonderful late autumn food source for our bees."

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  3. Lovely little flowers, lovely Piper too!

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  4. So tiny and delicate and yet tough as nails! What a great plant.
    :)

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  5. I'm so glad that you gave a perspective shot. They really are tiny! You've convinced me to add some to my garden. Are pollinators attracted to them?

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    1. Sadly no. I haven't noticed any bees paying them a visit, but then I am seeing very few bees generally speaking. A week or two a ago the Agastache planted nearby was alive with little honey bees, but it is mostly quite too. Even the black and white wasps that love the Eupatorium maculatum (white form of Joe Pye Weed) are all gone now.

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  6. Those little alliums are so cute. I don't think I have ever seen them for sale here but I probably haven't really looked either. As I am planting my new garden, it seems I am in need of quite a few smaller plants for the front of the border so I'll keep an eye out for these little flowers.

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  7. I did not realize these Alliums were so tiny, I never saw this late flowering ones, I shall have to find out if we can grow them here too. Your dog Piper looks very adorable, sorry for him the apple was not a ball, haha.

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  8. I love all types of alliums, and this one is a cute one! Piper is a great addition to the garden!

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  9. We have the same flowers in our yard. They’re beautiful, but they attract a lot of bees. We’ve set a few traps around to try to distract the bees from the garden because we can't get to the area when they’re out. Our little trap includes a bit of honey on a piece of paper that hangs from a hook.

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