Add Heriloom Allium Bulbs to Your Garden

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Patsy Bell Hobson is a garden writer and a travel writer. For her, it’s a great day when she can combine the two things she enjoys most: gardening and traveling. Visit her personal blog at and read her travel writings at

I like to add a few heirlooms to my garden every year. Most of my heirloom bulbs come from a tried and true source: Old House Gardens. So, when an email announcing 25 percent off arrived, I was more than happy to help.

Help Old House Gardens retrofit their old barn for future heirloom bulbs and save 25 percent. Old House Gardens has some heirloom herbs that caught my attention. See their whole list of overstocks. I’ve taken the liberty of pulling these descriptions right off Old House Gardens website.

These heirlooms have been around for decades because they are hearty and beautiful. Alliums easily reseed, they will be around for years in your garden and they will grow in most soil types and climates.

Chives attract pollinators to your garden and easily reseed.
Photo courtesy Old House Gardens

One of my favorite heirloom Alliums is the corkscrew chive (Allium senescens var. glaucum). This cute little Allium gets its name from its tufts of short, flat, blue-green leaves that are “curiously twisted like a corkscrew” (The Garden, 1875). In the book Adventures with Hardy Bulbs by Louise Beebe Wilder (1936), the corkscrew chive was praised not only for its foliage but for its decorative buds and mauve flowers. These flowers open in late summer and pair well with Sedum sieboldii, which is more commonly known as October daphne. Adding corkscrew chives to your herb garden will add a lot of novelty and texture to it. I love to use its flowers in my delightfuly pink herb vinegar. The corkscrew chive grows to about 6 to10 inches and is hardy in Zones 4 to 7S and 8WC.

A long-blooming herb that adds height and color ideal for borders.
Photo courtesy Old House Gardens

Allium sphaerocephalon, more commonly known as purple-headed or round-headed garlic, is also of interest to many herb gardeners, including myself! In America’s first bulb catalog, which was published in 1820, William Prince listed just one Allium: “purple headed-garlick.” Also referred to as drumsticks, this deer-resistant perennial has 1-inch, egg-shaped flower-heads that start green, turn rose, and end up wine-red. It grows to about 30 to 36 inches and is hardy in Zones 4a to 7bS and 9WC.

This post is just an FYI; I’m simply passing on the email that I received about the overstock sale. I’ve been buying bulbs from Old House Gardens for years and love their online catalog. I especially like knowing a little bit of the history and the mystery of my garden residents.

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