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Friday 17 August 2018

Japanese Anemones bring charm

Anemone 'Hadspen Abundance'
Anemone 'Hadspen Abundance'

By Andrew Collyer - Practical Gardening

Start applying autumn weed, feed and moss killer to lawns

Euonymus cornutus quinque

cornutus - beautiful seed pods

Japanese Anemones are one of autumns great providers. They actually start to flower in August but continue well into October and sometimes in favourable years beyond. They are ridiculously tough and easy to grow. Their botanical name comes either as Anemone japonica or Anemone x hybrida but both are commonly known as Japanese Anemones or windflowers. These beautiful plants actually originated in China but were adopted by the Japanese and cultivated for centuries.

Part of the Anomones charm for me, apart from their ease and prolificness of flower, is their simplicity. Ask a small child to draw a flower and chances are they will produce something many gardeners might identify as a Japanese Anemone. A siimple rosette of petals around a central hub of stamens. This uncomplicated beauty is a welcome relief from the summers somewhat fussy flowery show.

Japanese Anemones will grow almost anywhere. Sun or shade, dry or damp, as long as the soil is not waterlogged.If they do have a downside it is that they can be slightly invasive and spread further than you had perhaps intended them to. But it is hard to be cross with such wonderful plant. As herbaceous perennials go they are long lived and tend to die back in the winter to and evergreen cluster of leaves close to the ground.

They are particularly useful as a shade plant where they actually tend to perform even better than in full sun. In the shade they grow taller, with larger flowers with the foliage generally more healthy looking. Don't let this put you off growing them in the sun all the same. They are great planting companions for other early autumn sun lovers like Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' and Aster 'Little Carlow'. In the shade Japanese Anemones mix well with hardy Fuchsias and all Hydrangeas.

Anemones like to be in soil where they can root deeply. They have a unusual root system and if you dig them up to either reduce their spread or for transplanting purposes you will find only tough woody stem like roots that break easily. These will transplant very successfully even though they appear to lack any fibrous qualities. In garden centres they often look a little sorry for themselves as they don't flourish in pots. The foliage can look tired and the flowers rather small but have faith and know that once in the ground they will raise their spirits and flourish.

When preparing to plant dig the soil deeply to break up any compaction and allow the root system to grow deeply and unhindered. Add a bucket of compost or farmyard manure and some blood , fish and bone fertiliser. In drier locations consider a mulch to keep the roots moist and cool. If your Anemones do become thugish and out grow their welcome you can carefully spray of the areas where they are not wanted without affecting those plants you want to keep. Alternatively you can dig them out with a fork but be prepared to dig a full forks depth and get as much root as possible as they are liable to snap.

Some good cultivars to grow include:- Honerine Jobert, the best single white and with a yellow centre; Whirlwind has a semi double white flower meaning it has more petals than the single flowered types but still exhibits a yellow centre.

September Charm has clear pink single flowers with a darker pink purple on the reverse petal; Hadspen Abundance as the name suggest produces masses of deep pink flowers with yellow centres and Prinz Heinrich has semi double dark pink purple blooms. They are all great planted individually in groups but are also very effective when planted mixed together in groups. Cut back flower stems once they have faded to encourage more flowers to be produced.

Wexford People

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