Surprising side effects of pregnancy #1: Ornamental alliums are one of my all-time favourite flowers. I’ve loved these sculptural blooming onions ever since my first trip to the Chelsea Flower Show in 1998, when they were the flower du jour. They starred in almost every show garden that year. I remember writing a column about how they must have been the hottest new trend in floral fashion… only to subsequently discover that the reason these beautiful bulbs appeared in so many Chelsea gardens was because a canny nurseryman had offered the designers as many free bulbs as they liked. And, as it turned out, they all liked them quite a lot thanks!
Despite my fascination with ornamental alliums, I’ve only actually planted them twice. The first time was the year after I first went to Chelsea, when I planted Allium giganteum around my rotary clothesline. Bad move: this species has flower stalks up to 2m tall. No sooner had they started blooming than the washing line swung around and decapitated the lot.
I figured I’d give them another go this year and planted about two dozen bulbs (pink ‘Mars’, pictured, and white ‘Mount Everest’) from Garden Post. They have been utterly spectacular, which makes it all the  more ridiculous that the sight of them is literally making me sick. Yep, you guessed it: since I found out I was pregnant, I haven’t been able to abide the smell of onions. Cooked onions, raw onions – and gorgeous ornamental onions. I have to hold my breath to walk past them in the garden without gagging. Bugger!