A RECORD number of pom-pom headed alliums are in bloom at Arundel Castle during its annual Allium Extravaganza.

Around 15,000 purple, white, and amethyst alliums are in flower, the castle gardens boasting more than 10 varieties of the unusual flowers. Alliums rise above beds of lavender in a unique array, inspiring the Castle’s green-fingered visitors to try something new. 

Alliums are part of the onion family and these elaborate blooms tower over other varieties throughout the garden, including the Walled Garden. Some of the most exciting flowers include the large Gladiators in a stunning shade of rose-purple, and the starry Purple Rain blossoms, which complement the traditional English borders.

The creamy white Mount Blanc and Mount Everest break up the sea of purple with their statuesque star-shaped flowers. Smaller varieties such as Purple Sensation and Cowanii bring an extra punch of pizazz and a charming contrast to the garden, whilst the late-blooming Summer Drummers tower up to five feet high.

Arundel Castle’s head gardener Martin Duncan says, “My favourite allium would have to be the Christophii, also called the Star of Persia, because of its huge round head in a beautiful amethyst colour. It’s a stunning specimen even before it blossoms and still has beauty as its flower wilts away. I’m really looking forward to welcoming visitors to the Castle gardens for this year’s Allium Extravaganza. My team has worked hard to make this the biggest and most glorious display of alliums we have ever showcased.”

Martin’s advises planting the perennials in early autumn and preferably in the earth where they flourish. If planted in pots, it’s best to accompany them with lavender or a similar plant to disguise the untidy allium leaves.

The Allium Extravaganza at Arundel Castle, Arundel, is currently on. The gardens are open from 10am-5pm Tuesday-Sunday and on Bank Holiday Mondays and Mondays in August. Tickets to the Allium Extravaganza start from £11 for children and £13 for adults. Family tickets for two adults and up to three children are £51. Phone 01903 882173 or visit www.arundelcastle.org.

Above: alliums in bloom at Arundel Castle/picture: Abigail Rex

Below: alliums in the Stumpery

Above: a view of the gardens at Arundel Castle featuring allium blooms/picture: Abigail Rex

Below and bottom: close-ups of the pom-pom headed alliums