Debra Prinzing

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Awed by Allium: The Starring Ingredient of a Stunning Bouquet

April 18th, 2016

This summertime bouquet features gorgeous alliums and their companions.

This summertime bouquet features gorgeous ‘Globemaster’ alliums and their companions.

The smaller, darker drumstick allium echoes form and hue of its larger cousin.

The smaller, darker drumstick allium echoes form and hue of its larger cousin.

Jan shares his vast knowledge with regular farmers market customers each weekend.

Jan shares his vast knowledge with regular farmers market customers each weekend.

Jan Roozen of Choice Bulb Farms is a good friend and brilliant (not to mention charming) flower farmer.

I’ve known Jan through the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market where he is a member who grows a beautiful variety of flowers.

The selection from Jan and Ritva Roozen’s farm in Skagit Valley north of Seattle features specialty spring and summer bulbs.

Their alliums are some of the best I’ve seen — when I can, I come home with an armload of dramatic blooms and arrange with them.

Jan literally grows 15 varieties of Alliums — can you believe that? Here is the list — click on each cultivar name to see its unique form, color and stature.

Home floral designers can find Jan at the Choice Bulb stall every Saturday at the University District Farmers’ Market and every Sunday at the Ballard Farmers’ Market, both in Seattle.

Fresh-from-the-field, these flowers inspired me to make a summer bouquet a few years ago. I hope you enjoy this textural design in shades of apricot, cream, lemon, lavender and bluish purple and get ready to grow your own alliums (and companions like eremurus and dahlias) in the cutting garden.

Here is how the design came together, step-by-step:

Step One: Insert Solidago, crisscrossing the stems

Step One: Insert 10 stems of Solidago ‘Yellow Submarine’, crisscrossing stems as a grid

Step Two: Add 20 stems of Brodiaea coronaria, cut at two different heights for variety.

Step Two: Add 20 stems of Brodiaea coronaria, cut at two different heights for variety.

Step Three: Add 10 creamy white Dahlia 'Moonraker' stems.

Step Three: Add 10 creamy white Dahlia ‘Moonraker’ stems. Here’s a similar option from Longfield Gardens, Dahlia ‘White Onesta’

Step Four: Insert a dozen foxtail lilies (Eremurus x isabellinus). This variety is a Shelford hybrid.

Step Four: Insert a dozen foxtail lilies (Eremurus x isabellinus). This variety is a Shelford hybrid.

Step Five: Add a trio of 'Globemaster' alliums.

Step Five: Add a trio of ‘Globemaster’ alliums.

Step Six: Place several clusters of five stems of drumstick allium (Allium sphaerocephalum) for contrast to accent the bouquet's lighter colors.

Step Six: Place several clusters of five stems of drumstick allium (Allium sphaerocephalum) for contrast to accent the bouquet’s lighter colors.

The last step: Enjoy! Remember to change the vase water every day or so to keep it fresh. And it’s a good idea to trim the bottom of the stems when you change the water to extend the life of the flowers.

Print Did you know that the National Gardening Bureau declared 2016 as the Year of the Allium? Each year the NGB selects one annual, one perennial, one bulb crop and one edible as its “Year of” winner for home gardeners. Category winners are chosen for popularity and other attributes: easy-to-grow, widely adaptable, genetically diverse, and versatile.

Most allium flowers have a long, leafless stalk topped with a globe-like bloom that’s made up of a cluster of individual florets. Like exclamation points, alliums stand out from other plants, adding emphasis and excitement wherever they’re grown. Those are just a few of the reasons to love this perfect cutting garden bloom.

WIN A $50 BULB SHOPPING SPREE: Longfield Gardens, a Slow Flowers Sponsor, asked me to share my passion for Alliums and as a thank you, one reader who comments below will win a $50 gift card to shop for his or her own allium bulbs.

Please join the contest and post your comment below. Tell me how you use ornamental alliums in the garden — containers, beds or borders; or in floral arranging.

We’ll draw randomly from all those who comment here and announce one winner on Monday, April 25th at 5 p.m. Pacific. If you post allium pics on Instagram, use #yearoftheallium, okay?!

And here are few more of my favorite arrangements with Allium ~ from the pages of Slow Flowers:

Peonies from Ojeda Farms

These luscious red peonies from a local grower reflect the garnet-colored art glass and complement two forms of ornamental allium.

Slow Flowers Week 19read full “recipe” and variety list here

All shades of purple

A wistful arrangement of blue, purple and plum flowers looks awesome in a chartreuse vase.

Slow Flowers Week 23read full “recipe” and variety list here

Here are some other blogs to check out ~ read what they say about the Year of the Allium:

Garden in a City

Longfield Gardens: “See how a garden designer puts alliums to work”

Longfield Gardens Article: “Bountiful Blooms”

Thinking outside the Boxwood

20 Responses to “Awed by Allium: The Starring Ingredient of a Stunning Bouquet”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Simply Beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Anne H Reeves Says:

    Debra – this is such a great post. Since I am new to the PNW, I learn something new every day. I had no idea that allium would be available for sale (University District and Ballard markets) to a home designer. Allium were one of my father’s favorite flowers, so it feels wonderful to know that I can make my own arrangement with them. Long live Zone 8! Fondly, a Zone 5 transplant Anne Reeves

  3. Rachel Mottwiler Says:

    I love the giant globe alliums! They are so long lasting and beautiful as a cut flower! I picked some up
    Last year at the Portland Farmers Market and they lasted 3 weeks!

  4. Liz Bullard Says:

    I love alliums! We plant them among our dinosaur, giraffe and pony topiaries and they are such a hit with kids and adults alike. They are so enchanting that some little ones have to pick them. Then, we use them for crazy fun flower arrangements. When they dry we spray paint them silver and gold for sparkly winter decorations.

  5. Carey Says:

    They probably would be too tiny for anything more than bud vases, but I’ve always loved the micro little allium beesianum’s! So delicate and sweet!

  6. Andie Ptak Says:

    Now I will need to nurture the ones in my garden a bit more. They were one of the few flowers growing in the yard when we bought the house 23 years ago. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. Michelle Says:

    Alliiums a simply gorgeous. I planted mine 2 years ago and then I had a stroke at the end of April last year and was in rehab when they bloomed. Needless to say I’m looking to seeing them bloom!

  8. Lynn Jax Says:

    Debra Prinzing is amazing. If she recommends Alliums- then I believe her.

  9. Diane Terry Says:

    Simple and sculptural…makes great arrangements for modern interiors.

  10. Jonathan Leiss Says:

    This is our first year growing alliums, purple sensation and drumstick. The purple sensation are blooming now and we are in love with their beauty and long vase life. Can’t wait for the drumsticks to bloom.

  11. Joyce Pinson Says:

    As a second year flower farmer, never grown floral alliums but they are stunning. Does it count if I use onion “flowers” in some of my home bouquets? Cannot wait to try the floral grade ones for market. Ahhh….next year. Always something new to try!
    Joyce Pinson´s last blog post ..I Live in Appalachia Pikeville KY

  12. Ellen Smyth Says:

    I love using alliums with anything purple or lavender or green! So long lasting!

  13. Jennifer Bingham Says:

    This is my first season growing Alliums for cut flowers, I am so excited for my two varieties to bloom so that I can see for myself what all the fuss is about! Thank you for this blog and the beautiful pictures that inspire me to search out things that I have never grown before!

  14. Leslie Says:

    Alliums are some of my favorite flowers, especially the giant globe alliums! It’s my first year attempting to grow alliums and wish I hadn’t waited so long.

  15. Tereasa Jones Says:

    This is also my first season for growing a list I have 5 different varieties spread out through my garden beds. I am so in love with them!!!!!

  16. A Beginner's Guide To Alliums | Angie The Freckled Rose Says:

    […] conversation piece.  Learn how to make a beautiful bouquet with them in this helpful post The Starring Ingredient of a Stunning Bouquet by Slow Flowers with Debra Prinzing.  In her post, she shares a step-by-step guide on how […]

  17. Cathy Fruhauf Says:

    I like the A.shubertii and A. christophii to dry to use for arrangements. For Christmas I have used one as the ‘star’ for the tree topper.

  18. Amber Karr Says:

    I love allium nectaroscordum. They have happily spread from a planting years ago. A single stem in a vase is striking as well as combining the leaves and flowers that highlight their colors, i.e. dark leaved cotinus. Your arrangements are strikingly gorgeous and inspiring ! Thanks.

  19. Beth Syphers Says:

    Just beautiful! Allium is on my short bucket list! Next year I can see it in my garden.

  20. Debra Says:

    WE’VE JUST DRAWN THE WINNER AT RANDOM AND THE $50 LONGFIELD GARDENS GIFT CARD GOES TO LESLIE WILLIAMS, OUR #14 COMMENTER.

    CONGRATS LESLIE — AND THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR PARTICIPATING!

    DEBRA

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