Sometimes inspiration for the garden comes from books. I have written several times about how inspiration from the Piet Oudolf books changed the plantings and their arrangement here. Last fall, it was another tome, this time by Anna Pavord, that inspired some branching out in the bulb order selections to the small Alliums ssp.. Of the four types ordered, Allium moly ‘Jeannine’ is now blooming and is performing perfectly.
Factors that are beyond my control affect the bulb display here; the weather, the soil and critters, among other things. One plant that never ever fails to bring us great joy and is beloved by the pollinators is garlic chives, Allium tuberosum. The thinking was that other, similar little onions might also do as well.
Several Alliums with larger bloom heads have been planted with varying success. Some are wonderful the first year, never to be seen again. Some will return sparingly but need to be treated as annuals with new plantings each fall for a guaranteed show. Some years, there is disappointment, like the 2012 edition of Allium ‘Mt. Everest’ which is supposed to be tall and stately and this year is short and sort of sad. But Allium moly ‘Jeannine’, now there is a patch that brings a smile. The Rhododendron ‘Klondyke’ and blue bearded Iris add to the grin.
Ms. Pavord recommended planting in the shade, on the north side of a rock or under a shrub. I chose the area under the native nine bark cultivar, Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Summer Wine’, not knowing last fall that the shrub would be blooming at the same time as Jeannine. What a lucky site selection it turned out to be. The book said it would bloom in summer, but this is not England, so who knows? Also, this year the bloom times are out of sync with normal anyway.
Bloom time: In Southeast Tennessee, April, in 2012 anyway. says summer.
Height: About a foot to 18 inches tall, says 8 inches.
Flower size: Many smaller florets on a flat head about one to two inches wide.
Habitat: Species found in Europe on mountain scree on the north side of a rock, prefers shade.
Will naturalize under shrubs and trees, I hope that happens here.
Named for the wife of Dutch nurseryman Michael Hoog in 1978. Jeannine is a selected form, flowering earlier and more reliably than the species.