The most interesting plants in the Herb Garden right now are the Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) and the ‘Italian White’ Sunflower (Helianthus annuus).


Garlic Chives are the only Alliums blooming at the moment in the whole garden. I think they are quite beautiful. They spread like mad, but that’s not much of a problem because they must compete with other aggressive herbs like Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Rue (Ruta graveolens), and Borage (Borago officinalis).


Pollinators love Garlic Chives, just as they love all Alliums. If you need a moment of Zen, just watch all the winged critters buzzing around the Garlic Chives for a few minutes.


This is a Bald-Faced Hornet, I think.

The flowers and greens of Garlic Chives are edible, but so far we haven’t used them in the kitchen. I keep thinking I’ll add some to my scrambled eggs. As the name implies, they have a garlicky flavor. I think the stems are more tender before the flowers bloom.


Not sure if this is a plain old honeybee or something different.


This looks like a honeybee. I really need to get to know more about bee species.


This is a Great Black Wasp, a kind of Digger Wasp. It’s a scary-looking critter, let’s face it. But I’ve hung around them for years and have never been stung. It’s a predator that helps control the insect population.


This is another beneficial insect, a kind of Tachinid Fly. Sure it’s ugly, but its larvae parasitizes and consumes countless insect pests.


Moving on to a more attractive subject. Now is when my favorite annual Sunflower variety, ‘Italian White’, really shines. It branches out beautifully – this is all one plant. It is far taller than anything else in the Herb Garden and so it is growing to its full dimensions. The red crabapples of ‘Donald Wyman’ make a nice background.

I’m going to stop deadheading these flowers now that it’s September, to allow the Goldfinches to feast on the seeds.

Do you cook with Garlic Chives? And do you have a favorite Sunflower variety?

42 Comments on “Gorgeous Garlic Chives and a Superb Sunflower

  1. I’ve never heard of garlic chives, but I like garlic and I like chives, so the plant ought to suit me. Those sunflowers are beautiful.

  2. Yes, chive flower omelette, but easier still is to strip them carefully off the pedicels and sprinkle them on cut tomatoes. Crunchy and savory.

  3. We have garlic chives and they really do bring the bees but we try to limit them to one part of the garden…they love to wander!

  4. I don’t use garlic chives in the kitchen, preferring regular old chives instead, but as you’ve shown in your photos, garlic chives are valuable garden plants in that they attract many pollinators, especially honey bees! Along with ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum, garlic chives are the most bee-loved of all my late-blooming plants!

  5. I’ll have to try to have a Zen moment because garlic chives, β€˜tho pretty in flower, drive me mad with their colonizing. Their roots are hard to dig as well. You can tell I am not a fan!
    The sunflowers are another matter. Very attractive.

  6. I wish my garlic chives looked like yours! Just gorgeous and such a good pollinator plant. Beautiful shots!

  7. I once had garlic chives, but they didn’t do well and eventually died out. Amazed to read how invasive they are. But then again, I have the worst yard in town in which to garden.;) Love those sunflowers!

  8. Garlic chives are a traditional ingredient in some Thai dishes, including pad Thai. They’re a bit milder-tasting as well as more tender in the spring.

    One of the reasons Allium tuberosum is so successful at spreading is that the seeds are already ripe when the flower blooms — there’s no drying/ripening phase. So it’s vital to deadhead them as soon as the color is mostly gone, before the capsules open and spill the seed.

    They’re one of my favorite flowers — cool white and green freshness right when the garden could use a lift.

  9. I haven’t yet cooked with Garlic chives, but would love to try. Not sure if they would survive in my overly shaded garden. Maybe its aggressiveness would be a helpful attribute in that regard? Love all the insect photos and insights. I need to learn more about all of them too. All I know is that it makes me happy to see them! Love the sunflower – it’s gorgeous!

  10. Those chives have such pretty flowers ! .. I wish I had more room so I could plant them.
    All the beneficial insects have been enjoying my flowers too .. in fact I think you helped me identify one of them from your own pictures .. Bald faced hornet ? .. I think I have it in one of my pictures .. in any case they have all behaved while I have been in the garden . no one has stung me yet thankfully !
    Yes .. leaving the flowers for the birds now is a good thing πŸ˜‰

  11. Garlic chives are delish and super convenient. It’s easier to mince them with scissors than peeling and chopping garlic cloves. Great for pasta salad, adding after cooking is finished or use in quick cooking things like eggs.
    I want that sunflower!

  12. I always see garlic chives growing wild in the Lakes, the smell is really powerful! I love all your critters, especially that black wasp. Wow! That is a lovely

  13. It always seems such a shame that cutting chives means fewer chive flowers – they are so pretty and great for the insects too. I do intend to try garlic chives next year but as a herb and not for the flowers. And my favourite sunflower this year was ‘Silver Queen’. It has shimmering silver foliage and bright yellow flowers. Mine didn’t get any taller than about 1 meter though. πŸ™‚

    • Regarding the garlic chives, I expect soon enough there will be so many that I will be cutting more greens than we can eat. Regarding the sunflowers, is that because of drought?

      • Yes, a lot of the new plants in the same bed were very stunted in growth so I assume that it was lack of water that stopped the sunflowers getting taller. I intend to plant a ‘house’ sunflower next year as I have seen many out in the country villages here – they get lots of waste water from the kitchen and are planted near the front door or gate, and get really tall! πŸ™‚

  14. Love my garlic chives, but yes, I do try to trim the heads before the seeds go nuts across the garden.

    We make a garlic chive kimchee. It’s excellent since you need a lot of garlic and greens and it ferments quickly. Perfect version of summer kimchee.

  15. I knew someone would write about Italian White sunflower. It happens to be ‘one’ of my favorites, but is not white enough. Depending on the landscape, I might be inclined to grow other colors. I grew Italian White only one years, and then grew a mix of all sorts of bright colors because the neighbor requested them. (The driveway is closer to her windows than mine. Besides, she likes to cut the flowers to bring in.) In the gardens here, Italian White might be prettier than the bright typical sunflower colors.

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