How to Grow and Harvest Egyptian Walking Onions

Are you an onion addict who dreams of a steady supply of fresh Allium? Expanding your onion repertoire with perennial onions is your best bet. Egyptian walking onions (Allium x proliferum), also called tree onion or topset onion, is a three-in-one perennial onion that can be harvested from spring to fall in Zones 5 to 9.

How to Grow and Harvest Egyptian Walking Onions
How to Grow and Harvest Egyptian Walking Onions Source Dave Whitinger

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Does Real Garlic Seed Exist?

Go to any nursery or garden center and ask for garlic seed. What you get are garlic cloves, just like the ones you get from the grocery store. Hold on a minute, you asked for seed and what you got were cloves, so you head over to racks of seed packages and look for garlic. You won’t find any. Check your favorite seed catalog and they won’t have garlic seed either.

If there is no such thing as garlic seed, where does garlic come from? How can we have so many different varieties of garlic if they don’t make seed?

Here is the true story about garlic and garlic seed.

Does Garlic Seed Exist?
Does Real Garlic Seed Exist? Photo by GARLIC ANALECTA

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Hyacinthoides hispanica

Hyacinthoides hispanica, or Spanish bluebells are one of the best spring bulbs. Any type of bluebell is a great addition to the garden, but Spanish bluebells put on a better show than most of the others. They flower later than other bluebells and are much taller, allowing them to make a big splash in the garden.

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Barnardia japonica

Barnardia japonica: photo by Robert Pavlis

Barnardia japonica is a lovely bulb that flowers in late summer, early fall, when most other rock garden plants are slowing down. The pink-mauve flower spikes are quite tall for such a small bulb, reaching about a foot. The flowers are very dainty, but are produced in numbers large enough to give a good display. As the flowers open, the flower scape elongates.

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Allium karataviense ‘Ivory Queen’

Allium karataviense ‘Ivory Queen’ :photo by Robert Pavlis
Allium karataviense ‘Ivory Queen’: photo by Robert Pavlis

Allium karataviense ‘Ivory Queen’ is a very unusual onion. The leaves are extra wide, grow close to the ground and cup a large head of white flowers. Even in flower, the plant is only about 8 inches tall. Common names include kara tau garlic and Turkistan onion.

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Colchicum autumnale – The Life Cycle Explained

Colchicum autumnale, commonly called the fall crocus has one of the most unusual life cycles of any plant in my garden. It flowers with no leaves and it’s seeds are stored underground for part of the year. In a given gardening season it flowers first, then rests, and then makes leaves. This is one mixed up plant that has developed a very unique and interesting life cycle.

When should you move the corms – they are not bulbs? When can you collect the seed? Important information like this becomes clear once you understand how Colchicum autumnale grows – their life cycle.

Colchicum autumnale in fall showing flowers. The leaves are from a hydrangea bush, by Robert Pavlis
Colchicum autumnale in fall showing flowers. The leaves are from a hydrangea bush, by Robert Pavlis

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Spring Bulbs – When Is The Best Time To Plant?

Almost every gardener grows spring bulbs like tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus. Millions of new bulbs are sold every year and yet people do not agree on the best time to plant them. Some want to plant early, as soon as they arrive in shops. Others say that you should wait until the ground gets an early frost. Some wait until the ground is fully frozen, but that is usually because they forgot to plant earlier.

A couple of years ago I was in a large nursery that specialized in spring bulbs. It was early September in a zone 5 climate and a manager told me not to plant the bulbs for a couple of months until we had a light frost. I looked him in the eye and asked about the bulbs I had planted in prior years – they were already in the ground. Do they need to be dug up so I could re-plant them after frost? He did not have an answer.

Lets have a look at the science and figure out when you should plant spring bulbs.

When is the best time to plant spring bulbs?
When is the best time to plant spring bulbs?

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Chives, Garlic Chives, Onion Chives, Garlic Scapes – Which One Do You have?

There is a lot of confusion out there about various chives and garlics. Identifying one from the other is actually quite simple, until we add other alliums to the list, then it can become very complicated. In this post I will look at the common ones and provide a simple way to correctly identify your plant. I’ll also include some cultural information.

Allium Globemaster in the authors garden, by Robert Pavlis
Allium Globemaster in the authors garden, by Robert Pavlis

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Iris Identification – Which Type of Iris Do I Have?

Iris are very common in the garden and often people ask for help to plant, grow, move or divide them. The answer to such questions starts with iris identification. There are many different species iris and they do not all grow the same way. Some have tubers and need to be divided regularly. Others are bulbs and hardly ever need to be divided.

Learning how to grow your iris starts with identifying the type of iris. I am not talking about finding out the actual cultivar name, but you do need to know which type of iris you are dealing with.

In this blog I will help you to identify the type of iris you have. In a future blog I will provide cultural advice for each type of iris.

An easy way to identify the type of iris you have, iris identification
An easy way to identify the type of iris you have, source GardenMyths.com

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Canada 150 Tulip – Confusion About Cultivar Names

Canada will celebrate its 150th birthday in 2017. To mark this celebration, Canada is launching a special tulip called ‘Canada 150’. The white and red colors of the tulip mimic the colors in our flag.

Where did the Canada 150 tulip originate? There are several stories floating around about its origin but much of this is not true. Canadians have been told that the tulip is only sold through a Canadian hardware stored called Home Hardware and is available in limited quantity. So it should be no surprise that ‘imposter tulips’ have been introduced into the Canadian market place. People will do anything for a loonie (the common name for our $1 coin).

Tulip 'Canada 150' aka Tulip ‘Carnaval de Rio’
Tulip ‘Canada 150’ is the same plant as Tulip ‘Carnaval de Rio’

Follow me as I try to unravel the mysteries of the special Canada 150 tulip and learn more about the confusing world of naming plant cultivars.

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Spring Bulbs – Buying and Planting

It is fall and some gardeners are getting tired of their gardens. So what do they do? They go out and buy bulbs for spring flowers. For a true gardener there is always next year.

This post will walk you through the steps of how to buy bulbs and how to plant bulbs for a great spring garden.

Spring bulbs - Daffodils
Spring bulbs – Daffodils are squirrel proof, by Robert Pavlis

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