Eerie and Exotic

It’s fun when the garden surprises you.  Some people might say to get a life, but I enjoy each time flowers open in their season.

onion4The blooms of this alien looking plant surprised me.  It’s planted close to an Ornamental Garlic that has lovely delicate pink-lavender flowers.  Obviously, I didn’t do my homework before I bought this Ornamental Onion because I expected a similar flower on it.

Surprisingly, they don’t smell that much.  One day I put them in a vase with daisies.  Only when I took them out of the vase to discard and got a whiff of the bottom of the cut stem did I sense their strong aroma.

onion3Nor did I know that both the Ornamental Garlic or wild garlic and the Ornamental Onion or wild onion are in the Allium family.  Wildflower, the Magazine of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center gives the following information in its Spring, 2013, issue.  “Allium” was the word for garlic in ancient Rome.  Before the Romans used that word, the Celts’ word “all” mean hot or pungent.

onion2Garlic and onion have been cultivated by Europeans and Asians since ancient times.  Howard Carter found garlic in King Tut’s tomb when he excavated it in 1922.

The onion (A. cepa) was also used by the early Egyptians.  It is depicted on monuments and one variety was considered divine.

onionToday farmers hate these ornamental ones because they pop up in their cultivated land along with their crops.  Plus, when dairy cows eat it, it ruins the taste of their milk.  Another trial for farmers.

Although some of these are edible, take caution because some are poisonous.  If they are not sold as a food bulb, I plan to leave them alone and just use them as strictly ornamental.

When asked to name her favorite flower, Lady Bird Johnson diplomatically replied, “Choosing just one would be like picking a favorite child.”

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