The allium

Alliums abound this week.  It is magical to get to the garden early, when the sun is low and sparkling through the purple spiky globes.  Used to picking our flowers as I am, I still feel a pang as I harvest the alliums because they give the garden such drama.  They also make a kind of orange sap which stains my clothes and makes the water in their buckets turn pink.  They last for ages cut, and happily they really don't smell of onions unless you sniff very hard!  Today I've been picking them with sweet rocket, tellima and the first of the lupins, and the startlingly bright lime green euphorbia oblongata.  Euphorbia also has a sap to beware of, this time a milky white which can scorch skin and should never be put near the eyes.  If euphorbia stems are put into water with other flowers straight after cutting while the sap is still flowing it can make the other flowers in the bucket wilt.  To avoid this, we always pick euphorbias into their own bucket and leave for at least a few hours, or preferably overnight, before combining with other flowers.