Anemones-September charmers

By Andrew Collyer - Practical gardening

Published 08/09/2015 | 00:00

Prune lavenders. Hard but into live foliage growth

Rudbeckia fulvida 'Goldsturm'

Japanese anemones are one of autumns great providers. They actually start to flower in August but continue well into late October. They are incredibly tough and easy to grow.

Their botanical name comes under either Anemone japonica or Anemone x hybrida and commonly they are called Japanese Anemones or windflowers.

Anemone takes its name from the greek gods of the wind Anemoi, hence windflower. Japanese Anemone is slightly confusing because these plants orginate from China but have been cultivated in Japan for centuries.

Their charm, apart from their ease and prolificness, is their simplicity. Ask a small child to draw a flower and chances are they will produce something gardeners might identify as a Japanese Anemone. A simple rosette of petals around a central hub of yellow stamens and tiny flowers. Their simple elegance is a welcome relief from the summers flowering carnival.

Japanese Anemones will grow anywhere sun or shade, dry or damp. If they do have a downside it is that they can become a bit invasive. They are a long lived perennial that dies back to an evergreen cluster of leaves for winter.

They are particularly useful in shade and actually do better there than in full sun. In shade they grow taller, tend to have larger flowers and have a cleaner healthier leaf.

Don't be put off growing them in the sun though as they are great planting partners with other September sun lovers like Rudbeckia 'Golsturm' and Aster 'Little Carlow' . In the shade they compliment hardy Fuchsia like 'Mrs Popple' and and all types of Hydrangeas.

Anemones like to be in the ground where they can root deeply. They have unusual roots or if you dig them up appear to have no roots at all just tough woody stem like structures that break off from some unreachable deep source. These are roots however and when grown in pots for sale they often look unhappy and little worse for wear. Flowers are often small and leaves worn looking. But trust in the fact that once in the soil they will make a recovery and become strong and healthy, although you may have to wait for next spring for the transformation.

When planting prepare your soil well incorporating compost and fertiliser and digging deeply to allow easy access for the plants deep seeking root system to establish. In dry sunny beds a mulch will help keep the plant roots cool and moist.

If in time your Anemones spread from their allotted space try digging unwanted plants up, although because of the nature of the roots breaking they may reshoot. The careful use of Roundup will work and will only kill off the areas sprayed not the entire plant. Dead head the long lasting flowers as the petals fall.

Some good varieties to grow include: A. 'Honorine Jobert' the best single white with yellow centre. A .'Whirlwind' has semi double white flowers with a yellow centre. A . 'September Charm' is single pink with darker pink on the reverse petal. A. 'Hadspen Abundance' is also a single pink with three pink petals and two slightly smaller petals in a darker pink. A. ' Prinz Heinrich' is a semi double pink.

You can mix all colours together and the look great. The height can vary, in the sun around three feet in the shade up to five.

Wexford People

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