Agapanthus is bulb that produces alium like flower balls of clear blue in summer. Unfortunately it hasn't been winter hardy here - until now. Retired professional gardener John Bartlett has sucessfully tested the agapanthus variety 'Nikki' for winter hardiness in Milton in an exposed sunny area with heat retaining rocks in the soil. He grew the plants from seed from England. For more information, write John Barlett, 16 Burwell Road, West Roxbury, MA 02132.
Known as "lilies of the Nile" (though they're native to South Africa), the showy perennials in the genus Agapanthus have been avidly collected and grown since they were discovered by Dutch explorers in the 17th century. The few species in the genus have been hybridized intensively, yielding hundreds of interesting and dramatic cultivars. Despite their huge popularity among gardeners, however, they are not commonly used in New England because of their lack of winter hardiness.
Selected by R J Fulcher in 1998, 'Nikki' was named after his second daughter. It has deep blue flowers and has proved to be a very popular cultivar over the years in England.