But then there are alliums. Who could resist an utterly, improbably gorgeous plant that also happens to be called Star of Persia? Or Purple Sensation? I grow both, along with the lovely oddity called Bulgarian allium. All these members of the onion family are reasonably carefree (although it is possible to drown them), and Ohio does boast a few species of its own. The most decorative is probably nodding onion, allium cernuum, a beauty that I managed not to bring from the old house. Intending to order some, I somehow ordered a Western native, allium amplectens, instead. And I am in love.
This allium is blooming now, months after most of its cousins have gone dormant for the year, adding puffballs of cool white to the midsummer lawn strip.
Playing well with others is an important trait in a flower, and this one does. It is holding its own with (and having its tatty foliage, a common allium failing, hidden by) echinacea, asters, wild ageratum, and whatever else we have growing. Its tiny flowers, several dozen of which make up a single flower head, are also intricate and lovely.
Perhaps its most important benefit in a wildlife garden, however, is that it is a magnet for bees and butterflies. A single globe can host several pollinating insects at once, making it a plant that more than earns its keep. Skippers seem particularly fond of it, and no garden can have too many skippers.
And did I mention that deer leave it alone? Unlike humans, deer seem not to like spicy food.
Could a plant be more perfect?