Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Horticultural Interpreter.
Alliums come in many shapes and sizes—including edible crops, such as garlic, onion and leek—but the impressive ornamental Allium ‘Ambassador’, one might say is an excellent representative of the genus.
Growing from a bulb, the new foliage appears in early spring and the flower stalk (called a “scape”) shoots up to four feet high in late May, just as the leaves start to shrivel. Sitting on top are its six-inch-round, sphere-shaped clusters of purple flowers.
The bulbs will persist from year to year but may need lifting and dividing in the fall to prevent overcrowding.
‘Ambassador’ can be seen in various spots on the grounds at Wave Hill. It is shown here just outside the Flower Garden.