Garlic chives in full bloom produce an arresting site. Shortly before this photo was taken a tall Lady in Red salvia sported tall spikes of scarlet blossoms in front of this clump of garlic chives; scarlet and bright white together made a striking picture -- unfortunately I didn't get around to taking a photo until the red blossoms had dropped.
Garlic chives bloom relatively briefly in late summer -- for about two weeks or so. During that time the clump of garlic chives becomes a popular dining spot for all kinds of nectar-loving creatures. When the blossoms fade, they are replaced by little green capsules, that in time dry and spit out a black seed each. Dozens and dozens of seeds per clump of chives. Dozens and dozens of viable seed ready to turn into more garlic chives. This can be considered a good thing, or an annoyance. It all depends on where the garlic chives grow. These in my "ornamental" flower beds prove to be an annoyance when they start to spread. So before the little white flowers turn to seed I've got to cut off all the flower stalks.
|One of the many visitors that dine on nectar of garlic chive blossoms.|
These plants are hardy, suffering through heat and drought with no complaints. And -- I don't know if it's proper to use this term in relation to a non-critter -- fecund, with all of these seeds ready to make babies. I did not realize how persistent these gems are until I recently went to my parents' home for a family reunion. Around the southwest corner of the house, where I planted my first herb garden, garlic chives bloomed. Some of them had obviously been taken down with a string trimmer or mower, but numerous small clumps bloomed. I'm sure my mom didn't plant garlic chives, so the only explanation was that they were remainders from the herb garden I planted as a 16-year-old. Decades have passed since then.
As I've lately pondered about the impermanence of life (as I often do when summer moves into autumn, trees lose leaves, etc. etc.) I came up against something that wasn't quite so fleeting. The original garlic chive plant that I set into the ground decades (I mean decades) ago no longer lives, but its progeny do. The herb garden planted when I was a fledgeling herbalist/herb grower still survives in some form.
I wonder, will the offspring of these chive blossoms flower beneath the red cedar trees that overtake this land decades from now?
NOTE: Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum, also called Chinese chives. Distinctly garlic in flavor; leaves are flat rather than round like regular chives. Originated from Asia, particularly northern China. Related to onions, etc. A member of the Liliaceae (Lily) family.