Home » May Focus : Onions & Asparagus

May Focus : Onions & Asparagus

This month in Learning we are exploring onions and asparagus.

Onions are in the allium family, which includes all types of onion, shallot, garlic (including wild garlic), leeks and the herb chive.

Asparagus used to be classified as an allium too but this classification changed in recent years. Asparagus has such a short season in the UK, usually lasting around 6 weeks in late April and May, so for historical and seasonality reasons we decided to include it in our allium themed May month!

Via these pages we take you on a tour of onion related content from our Collection and Archive, and explore some onion science. If you work with Primary aged children, you might find our simplified science led onion fact file useful.

Plus there are many activities for you to have fun with at home; Use onion skin to make ink and paint your own still life onions, or cook our spring onion rice paper rolls.


Enjoy taking part in one of our hands on activities below. If you make anything, we’d love to see the results – you can share photographs with us via twitter @GardenMusLearn or email us ceri@gardenmuseum.org.uk

Art Activity : Onion Ink

This activity will need some supervision and lots of onion skins. Onion skins are a great natural dye because they have their own chemistry, which means the colour in the skin can stick to paper and even fabric without adding other chemicals.

Onion Ink

Art Activity designed by Madeleine Sadler, Artist and Volunteer

Cooking Activity : Spring Onion Rice Paper Rolls

Follow this step by step photo-recipe to create your crunchy fresh spring rolls filled with shredded spring onion and rice noodles, dipped in a sweet peanut sauce.

Spring Onion Rice Paper Rolls

Further Cooking

If you’ve managed to forage any wild garlic recently, then you may like to check out Garden Café Head Chef George Ryle’s wild garlic pesto recipe.

Image: Ceri Jones