Plant of the Month - September: Allium"Medusa"

Gardeners are quite familiar with Allium, the onion genus that contains many ornamental as well as important culinary varieties.  Familiar purple globes on vertical spikes above the clumps of grassy leaves appear at different times in different sizes.  I've always found them a useful, if underwhelming, accent plant.  It is with great enthusiasm however that I recommend the variety "Medusa".  No longer just a myth, this little beauty can anchor a garden corner all by its lonesome.

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Allium varieties, in my experience, have a limited window of effectiveness in the garden, and need underplanted or otherwise compensated for when that window passes.  "Medusa", on the other hand, retains its charm for months on end.  The variety takes its name from the interesting twist of its foliage, which remains plump, green and completely blemish-free all summer long, and emit the characteristic onion odor when crushed.  Attractive, spade shaped buds ascend very early in the season, then hover in stasis forever, teasing the public for months before finally opening in August to packed houses of bees and butterflies both.

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Even the flowers have an extra feature.  The stamens appear as white flecks adorning the tip of each tiny purple florette, and the flowers last for weeks.  They can be left standing as long as you find them attractive, but removing them before the seeds mature will help keep down volunteers.  

The plant itself is a tidy 12" mound of clean, green, twisty leaves which look good all year long.  So clean and compact is this variety that I would not hesitate to use it in the foreground of a perennial border, something I normally would never do with other Allium cultivars. When the frost finally finishes them, simply scoop up the leaves like Hosta or Daylily; there is no woody component to Allium.  

For its unique characteristics, and its long-season, trouble-free appeal, I heartily endorse Allium "Medusa" as our September Plant of the Month.

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The Bristol Group