Serendipity in the garden

Ornamental onions hidden beneath the ground spring to the rescue when the flowers of a California fescue begin to bloom but the leaves begin to wilt. Unplanned successes are undoubtedly the best kind.

Credit: Carolyn Jones

From left to right: ferny foliage of Xanthorhiza simplicissima; Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’ growing through Festuca californica; behind them is the white-striped maiden grass Miscanthus sinensis ‘Cosmopolitan’; along the front of the bed sedums, including the golden Sedum ruprestre ‘Angelina’; Japanese barberry Berberis thunbergii ROYAL BURGUNDY; lavender; and Mexican mock orange (Choisya ternata).

Unplanned successes are undoubtedly the best kind. Last fall a lovely clump of California fescue (Festuca californica) had to move from its too-cramped spot in my drought-tolerant border. Without realizing it, I transplanted it to ground under which lay dormant ornamental onions (Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’). This handsome perennial has stunning purple globe-shaped flowerheads, but just before it blooms, the leaves begin to wither. Unless the foliage is masked adequately, it detracts from the beauty of the blooms. Of course, I must confess I didn’t remember exactly where the onion bulbs were hiding. However, this spring they announced themselves with full glory, shooting up through the foliage of the fescue. Both flowered in harmony, providing me and my neighbours with an unexpected delight. Isn’t that the definition of serendipity?