Welcome to Bulb of the Year
The Perennial Plant of the Year (PPOY) Committee considers many plants. Committee members are passionate about their plant nominations. To recognize outstanding bulbs for Calgary, the committee created a Bulb of the Year category.
To be selected as Bulb of the Year, the plant must meet all the criteria:
- suitable and reliable in Calgary growing conditions
- not overused
- readily available in garden centres
- reasonably affordable to purchase
The bulbs are display in chronological order from the current year’s designated bulb to previously designate bulbs. Unlike the Perennial Plant of the Year, which is awarded each year, a bulb may not receive a yearly designation.
The Bulb of the Year is announced in the fall.
Fritillaria meleagris 2020 Bulb of the Year
Common Name: Checkered Lily
Flowers of the checkered lily (Fritillaria meleagris) are typically 4 cm in size. They are single, pendant, and bell-shaped, but with square shoulders that give them a slightly boxy look. Flowers are held on surprisingly thin, delicate, grey-green stems reaching 30-45 cm, with narrow grass-like foliage spaced out along the stem. Learn More
Allium christophii 2019 Bulb of the Year
Common Name: Star of Persia
Allium christophii, also known as Star of Persia, is one of the most spectacular hardy alliums. Records show it was planted by William Reader at the historic Reader Rock Garden in the early 1900s.
The globe-shaped flowerheads, up to 30 cm in diameter, rise above the foliage on 35–60 cm tall leafless stems. Each flowerhead is actually a cluster of up to 100 star-shaped, silvery-purple flowers. The bloom period is quite long and the seed heads remain attractive throughout much of the summer.
It blooms in late spring to early summer just as the spring-flowering bulbs begin to fade.
The bulbs of A. christophii must be planted in the fall in holes 10–15 cm deep and 20–30 cm apart in groups of five, seven or more. Alliums love full sun and will grow in most types of well-draining soil. The plant life may be short-lived but are still well worth growing. Allowing the plants to bloom only every second year may prolong the lifespan.
One challenge with alliums is that the foliage begins to wither just as the flowers start to bloom.
Interplanting A. christophii amongst perennials such as Alchemilla mollis (lady’s mantle) or Geranium ‘Rozanne’ will help to hide the dying foliage. Ornamental grasses such as Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Bronzeschlier’ (bronze veil hair grass), and Helictotrichon sempervirens (blue oat grass) make great companions.
Alliums are deer and rabbit resistant and have no serious pest or disease problems.