September 7, 2012

Garlic Chives

"If you've got dirt and sun, you can grow garlic chives. It's truly that easy. This plant is just happy to be here, don't mind me, and no water for me, thank you.  It is the toughest of the tough. A close relative of culinary chives, garlic chives has edible leaves that can be used as seasoning but that's not why you'll grow it.  The best feature of this sun-lover---besides the fact that it thrives on pure neglect---is it's habit of blooming when other summer plants have given up hope of doing anything productive". 

An excerpt from SOUTHERN SUN,  A Plant Selection Guide by Jo Kellum.


 I came across this book in a used book store not long ago. It's a wonderful resource for gardeners who deal with ferocious heat and blazing summers. 

The plant selections in the book are familiar to most of us who garden in the torrid South...

In fact, I think it's our very familiarity with these plants (and their vigor in our geography) that makes them seem less special, less interesting, less precious to us.


Which is EXACTLY why I loved this book.  It shook me out of my sometimes snobbish, contemptuous disdain for things that are easy to grow in Oklahoma... that seem comfortable here... that not only survive, but thrive here.

These dainty white garlic chive blossoms are the perfect example.  

I don't remember how they came to bee (oops!) in my garden, but they have been residing here for as long as I can remember.  I have fought them for years, as they have reseeded with abandon, often in places I'd rather they didn't.


I'm can't even remember why I felt compelled to banish them.  They are not overly thuggish, 

are not at all unattractive, even when out of bloom.

Pollinators clearly love them.

They look fresh and showy and bright in my September garden, often appearing in snowy drifts where they have decided to plant themselves.






Their brilliant white color looks lovely with  tall pink phlox, butterfly bush blooms and rosemary stalks.  


I love the way you can 'see through' their stems to the plants beyond.












Delicate and airy...especially with pale lavenders, pinks and blues.


Not so bad with a touch of yellow either.


Don't their thin stems look superb against the broader zinnia foliage?

 Such a social little plant too.

 
I hear buzzing at the mere sight of them.

Now, I am more than happy to see their starry white blooms.

Thanks to Southern Sun (find it here)  I am a belated convert to their inclusion in my potager.

In fact, as I type this, I am enjoying a lovely small bouquet on my desk...

of pink phlox, pink zinnias, pale pink dahlias, pink asters, and 

you guessed it

lovely white chive blossoms.












2 comments:

  1. I love them too. The flower smells lovely but they reseed like crazy. The good news for me is that the deer don't like them so I am able to have blooming flowers on the roadside by my mailbox.

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  2. Um, I think I need to plant them. They would have been so happy here this hot, dry summer in the Midwest!

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