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Plant of the week: Allium ‘Millennium’ (Ornamental onion)

Why you should plant it

Alliums of every sort are great boons in any garden because of their elegant long stems and globular blooms. This one, however, is different. Allium 'Millennium' is a compact little clumping plant topped with rosy-purple balls of colour. Perky is the only way to describe it! While the slender, oniony sprongs are likable on their own, the colourful globes are a treat. It makes a spectacular addition to the front of any border.

Where to plant it

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'Millennum' grows best in full sun but will take a bit of shade. While it's more or less drought-tolerant, it still must be watered until it's established. In a couple of years, it will be possible to lift and divide the bulbs and spread them around the garden in places you don't want plant predators, such as mice, squirrels and deer, to attack (personally, I can't attest to the latter but can speak to the truth re: the others). A Zone 6 plant, it grows to a size of 30-centimetres high by 30-centimetres wide.

What it offers

If you need a good front-of-the-border slash of colour, this plant will do the trick. From mid to late summer, the cluster of starry little blooms, which attract butterflies, are pretty much electric. Unlike other alliums, 'Millenium' won't seed about or expand beyond its parameters (it would look great in a container by itself). In terms of pairings, try combining it with plants such as penstemons (which have pretty foliage) or asters (which offer autumn colour).

Source and cost

Find it for $16.99 at commercial nurseries such as Fiesta Gardens (www.fiestafarms.ca) in Toronto.

For more plant and garden information, visit www.marjorieharris.com.

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