Alliums are some of the most versatile bulbs for the spring and summer garden. The tall-growing species, standing like sentries with big, round heads, provide wonderful contrast to other shapes usually found in perennial borders; dwarf species are well suited to rock gardens. While some allium flower heads are just a couple of centimetres wide, others can be ten times as large. These perennials range in height from 15 centimetres to more than a metre, with flower colours of white, yellow, blue, silvery pink and mauve. Their leaves (either round and hollow or flat and strap-like), although attractive when they first emerge, can become untidy later in the season. Plant them among other perennials or annuals such as roses, irises, poppies, anemones or petunias to help screen the leaves. Alliums are long-lived and do not appeal to deer, squirrels, rabbits, mice or chipmunks. Flowers can be left on the stalk to dry or, if cut early, will last up to three weeks in water.
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