Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ornamental onions and a soap box rant about puppy mills

Some onions are pretty enough to plant in the flower bed. Chives for example are very attractive when blooming. I like their tubular, bluish leaves even after bloom is finished. My onion chives have pale lavender blooms and garlic chives bloom in white.

Garlic looks a lot like chives. I planted one garlic bulb about 4 years ago and now have a nice little patch.

Most of my allium flower in mid spring.

Allium Purple Sensation is not edible but it certainly is attractive.

The unusual allium karataviense. The best thing about this allium is the foliage.

A. karataviense are very low to the ground. They aren't particular about soil except that it drain well. In my garden, allium has no pests or disease.

Another Purple Sensation beginning to bloom. PS seeds freely, the seedlings look like grass. It takes at least three years from seed to bloom.

Wednesday morning the Associated press broke a truly heartrending story about the death and suffering of puppies in puppy mills. This topic always disgusts me. Seems that the USDA inspectors who are charged with protecting the welfare of animals in puppy mills haven't been doing their jobs. They've been ignoring violations, waiving fines, allowing repeat offenses, and turning a blind eye to neglect and cruelty. The result has been the death of several hundred puppies in various kennels around the country. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack admits to these charges and promises to make some big changes. Right, isn't that what they always say? We can all be absolutely certain that nothing will change and that these helpless animals will continue to suffer and die.

If you have a little extra time, I would urge you to write to your congressman and demand the Dept. of Agriculture do a better job of protecting companion animals. If you are thinking of getting an animal, please adopt from a rescue organization. Don't buy from a pet shop, breeder or kennel. There are already far too many dogs in need of homes, none of us want to encourage breeding for profit.


Southern Lady said...

I agree with you on the puppy mill subject. Most of our animals are from the animal shelter. That is the best way to go. Carla

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I wish I could grow alliums. I don't have luck with them. Even chives struggle in my garden.

As to the puppy mills it is disgusting. I can't even watch the show on tv about cops saving animals that are being cruely treated. UGH. My neighbor went to a place to get their latest Jack Russel. They helped shut down that operation. It was so bad. I was so proud of them for not turning a blind eye to the mess.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

My first year growing Alliums has been a success and now I plan to add more. I hope my PS will reseed!

I see them showing rescued puppies from mills around here on the news hear every once in awhile. I cannot understand how someone can allow anything living to be kept in those horrible conditions. I really hope they can figure out a way to monitor breeders in a better way.

tina said...

It is surely criminal the way animals are treated. Just breaks my heart each day.

I have the allium k. It is in a pot and while it looked great the first year, it has lagged a bit this year but I agree, the foliage is the best!

Heather at Dusty Bay said...

I agree with you, Marnie. That is great of you to speak out about those awful puppy mills.

Your alliums and chives are pretty too!

marmee said...


of course i love all your purple blooms...i must really try allium.
we have chive blooms and garlic chive blooms as well.
i love to add them to salads...and they are just lovely in the garden.
we have both rescue dogs and dogs from breeders. animal cruelity is such a problem and more needs to be done. it doesn't seem to be a priority...but should be.
happy may.

Beth said...

Hi Marnie ... I love my chives. They are so pretty right now.

I saw the headline to your post and almost couldn't read it as I have a hard time with reading anything related to child and animal abuse. It is so disturbing to me and makes me incredibly sad ... I want to adopt a rescue mini Schnauzer but I have a hard time convincing my husband that two dogs really isn't that much work! Keep up the good in spreading the word for change ...

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Allium karataviense has very cool looking foliage. What do you do to camouflage it when it's fading?

I agree with you about puppy mills. Absolutely horrible. I think the solution is that people need to stop buying puppies at pet stores. If the demand for these puppies dries up, the profits will as well, and we all know that puppy millers are in it only for the profit.

Louise said...

My first cat was a barn kitten, but the rest of them have all come from shelters. The puppy mill situation makes me furious. How can people live with their own cruelty? I'll never understand it.

A Garden of Threads said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my post, my iris are also suffering in the 90+ weather. I love your allium, sadly I only one left. They slowly stop flowering.

Anonymous said...

I adore Alliums, they are my favorite bulbs in the garden. That allium karataviense looks like an interesting specimen. Have to put that on my wish list. :)

Sandy said...

Tom Vilsack needs the boot! I get emails from the Humane Society and send letters all the time. It's just a shame. They really need to change the laws, but most people just sit back and let it happen. They don't want to get involved because they can't stand to see the pictures (because they say it hurts too much, so they just look the other way) I agree about breeders trying to profit and not caring about the animals. Now don't get me started on dog chaining. Have you ever been to the Site "Dogs Deserve Better" too bad more people can't be like her. Laws would surely be changing then.

The pictures are so beautiful. I can't wait for my chives to bloom.

F Cameron said...


You are so right about the situation with puppy mills and the need for protection of innocent animals.

May I use this space to get on my soapbox about the greyhound racing industry...

Our greyhound, Charm (aka The Gardening Greyhound) was on the race track until her mandatory retirement at age 4.

Fortunately, her kennel tries to place the retired greyhounds into rescue organizations instead of killing them.

At the time of adopting Charm 7 years ago, the statistics on greyhound euthanasia in the USA was a staggering 50,000 dogs per year!

There are greyhound rescues all over the country. I can go on and on about what wonderful INDOOR companions they are. They don't need to run much...a race lasts about 31 seconds. They love to hang out in the house all day long and keep their humans happy.


PS I love alliums and continue to increase the numbers and try new varieties in my garden!

Cheryl said... very well done for bringing up this topic. It is so sad that in this day and age animals are still being treated so cruelly.
Sadly it happens here to. I have been campaigning on behalf of animals for around thiry years now.
My last three dogs have all been rescue dogs....I have treasured and loved each one of them.

Your alliums are beautiful....I have a soft spot for them.
Chives and garlic chives grow well here......mine are planted in the borders.

BeadedTail said...

Puppy mills makes me so sick to my stomach. Sadie was in a puppy mill but was thankfully rescued at 4 weeks old so has no ill effects. When we lived in Kansas and Colorado we heard about puppy mills all the time but it's not in the news much out here in Oregon so there's still so many people unaware of how horrible those places are. I will do my part in helping get the USDA to do a better job in helping these poor dogs. And I also spread the word to Don't shop, adopt!

Your allium are beautiful by the way!

*Ulrike* said...

I don't like thinking of what they do to puppies, but even more so are the ones who take older dogs to just turn them lose. They have been loved for so long (or maybe not), and then no longer wanted. At least take them somewhere or ask if someone wants a free pet!
I better not get started on that subject!!
Never thought of planting chives in among my flowers, but I bet it would help roses and others from pesky little bugs!!

crimsoncat05 said...

beautiful alliums! sorry you have been suffering in the Midwest with such high temps...

And I do agree with you about puppy mills. Although we did buy both of our dogs from breeders, they were purchased from small breeders who keep their dogs in their homes as part of the family, not a huge "for profit" operation. I agree, too, about the fact that those "shopping mall pet stores" contributes to the problem. I saw an article recently in the Phoenix newspaper about some of those stores being closed, and re-opened to use as Humane Society stores, so shelter dogs would get more exposure to the public, and have more of a chance to be adopted. (another pet peeve of mine re: dog breeding is those people who will not get their "pet" spayed or neutered-- unless they are going to be a careful breeder, there is NO NEED for their dog or cat to still have their private parts, and risk adding to the already overloaded animal shelter puppy and kitten population.)

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

I don't know how these people can sleep at night when they treat animals so shamefully. It makes me sick to think of all the needless suffering they must endure. Why should we believe that they are going to change their ways just because the Ag Sec. is in the hot seat for the moment. As long as people buy from these puppy mills, these practices will continue.

On a happier note, your Alliums are beautiful. I have the garlic chives that are white. They are beautiful--but very prolific--a little too much for my liking. I have been cutting the flowers before they go to seed to stop their spread. They make a very striking arrangement.

Kathleen said...

ooh, your Alliums, garlic and chives are all wonderful clumps Marnie. I hope to have mine spread like that. Last year I let A. Schuberti seed around but unfortunately, those bulbs didn't return this year ~ I'm thinking it was a mistake because maybe the bulb didn't get fed??? I do see lots of little "grass-like" sprigs in my beds tho so maybe one day I'll have an abundance of them?

I really like A. karataviense ~ maybe I'll add them to my order this fall. I think I remember seeing them in your garden last spring??
Totally agree with you about puppy mills. It breaks my heart to hear stories like this. I don't understand how people can treat animals (or children for that matter) inhumanely??? Definitely not anyone I want to be around.

btw, I don't know how 'Multi Blue' will do for me? I just planted it last summer. It has had a great spring of growth but we'll see how many blooms. I'm sorry to hear yours is disappointing. The blooms are so pretty ~ it's a shame the whole vine isn't covered. Maybe this year???

Dawn said...

I grew allium years ago, I was so in awe of how delicate it looks. I didn't know they are related to onion until I dug up the lillies around the allium, forgetting they were there. Strange scent of onion came to be! lol!
You are so right about puppy mills, how sad.
My rant is the way horse racing pushed the horses until they break legs, years ago when the female broke both front legs and had to be put down, right in the middle of the track, just sickened me. And still does, I could give a emotionally charged whiplash to those people and not think nothing off it.

troutbirder said...

Rarely are those mass production breeders punished. The worst cases of neglect with dogs and cats though often seem to involve an elderly single person with some kind of mental illness. Its heart rending all the way around.

Susie said...

I've never seen those low growing alliums before. I really like them. They look like little snowballs.

Cordwood Cabin said...

Stories about suffering animals are always terrible (I cry during ASPCA commercials). I've always been a great admirer of rescue shelters and local human society shelters, who do such wonderful work. Giving one of those pets a home always seems worthwhile.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Beautiful colors in your garden, Marnie.... AND I share you feelings about puppy mills. They are horrible. One blog friend recently adopted a sweet little dog which had been rescued from a puppy mill. She had been kept in a small cage --and they only wanted her to reproduce so that they could sell her babies...

She said that this little dog had not been taken care of --and it took her a long time to even trust her new family. So very very sad.

sweetbay said...

Unfortunately animal welfare is not a high priority, which is really sad. These animals don't deserve the rotten treatment that they get.

I think most people who have cats, the cats were rescues or strays.

I think many dogs require more care and committment than people want to give them.

Rose said...

I've grown to love the onion family, too, Marnie. I planted chives in the vegetable garden, thinking I would use it in cooking, but it's become an ornamental there instead. The low-growing allium is really interesting-looking; I've never seen one of these.

The puppy mill story is terrible. I find I can't watch anything on TV or read the newspaper about such animal cruelty because it upsets me too much. People like this should have the proverbial book thrown at them.

Tammy said...

Living in the heart of puppy mill country it is hard not to be aware of it. When I was much younger and much more naive I worked for a puppy broker for about six months. It was an eye opener. There are many folks who raise dogs that are good to them, even though they are headed to the petshop market (although I find their attitude to be terribly naive--'but if somebody pays that much for them they will take care of them' uh no.) But for every person that treats their animals well, with spacious runs and individual attention, there are probably two or three more that don't. We don't need MORE laws we just need the laws and rules ENFORCED. If the laws that are in place aren't being enforced then there is no point in putting more laws into place, that tend to hurt the people that care anyway. Using up animals and keeping them in cruel conditions on all fronts is so wrong. That said, I do get my 'every ten year or so' Collie from a breeder, however, she has devoted her life to breeding and showing collies and has a very small kennel and the dogs are all well socialized with house time and a large yard to play in. The rest of my cats and dogs are all 'rescues' of some sort or the other, and there are so many more out there that need a helping hand.