It’s simply not possibly to choose a favourite of Stephanie Andrews‘ incredible flower paintings. That said, I love the energy of her “Allium Purple Sensation I”, an acrylic on canvas portrait of one of my best-loved garden plants.

Allium Purple Sensation - acrylic painting on canvasAny plant in the Allium family (ornamental onions) gets put automatically on my best-loved list, actually.

To begin with, they’re trendy as anything, these days. All minimalist and sculptural…

Better yet, the range of allium varieties is large enough to suit every taste — pink, yellow, purple, white, many colours in sizes ranging from a few nches tall to the three-foot giants.

Best of all, allium is truly an easy perennial plant to grow, perfect for a difficult garden or an inexperienced gardener.

Alliums tend to be drought-tolerant (excellent for arid southern gardens, or for those of us who like to treat potable water as the precious limited resource that it is).

Art Nouveau embroidered linen Allium Pillow Allium are sun-loving flowering plants and can happily survive where other plants would shrivel and dry out, returning to flower (and multiply) year after year.

They also tend to be winter-hardy — tough enough to be grown successfully, many varieties of them, in zone 3 and even zone 2 — I know this from the reports of brave gardening friends who live in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

As long as the allium bulbs aren’t planted in a heavy wet soil where they could rot out, they’re pretty much tough enough to survive whatever you throw at them.

And beautiful, too!

Allium Purple Sensation earringsNo wonder that artists like Stephanie Andrews are inspired to paint those airy allium spheres…

Or that Ann Wallace offers Art Nouveau allium embroidery in a linen pillow (or as a kit to craft your own)…

Or that Chain of Beads is showing a pair of allium-inspired earrings, all round and open, solid yet airy, with tiny crystals to suggest the tiny starry flowerets that make up the allium bloom…

I’m still looking for an allium motif in a quilt — that would be stunning!

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