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We have a little courtyard out back behind our apartment. When we first moved to the city after college I was determined to make a garden out of it. My mother-in-law had planted azaleas, euonymus, and a rhododendron that bloomed beautifully that first year but quickly succumbed to the combination of shade and poor drainage after that. The eunymus has hung on but has grown scraggly from my lack of attention these last few years. I had also furiously planted tulips, and crocuses and snow drops all of which still pop up in the spring to give me a brief glimpse of color before everything fades back to a shady green. Now the only thing in bloom in my garden is a solitary allium.



I had ordered it on a whim from a seed catalog, lured in by its promise of thriving in the shade. Unlike so many of the other things I planted, it’s lived up to its reputation. Most of all I love its unusual shape. Its bell-like blossoms hang down like an umbrella or lamp shade.


Allium from Below


Now every morning when I pull back the curtains to the courtyard I see it standing there and it makes me smile. My solitary allium.