A Fall Favorite

Sept 24 061There are many species of anemone, but few are quite as lovely as anemone x hybrida “Honorine Jobert.  An old garden hybrid discovered in a garden in Verdun France in 1858, it is a star of the fall perennial garden.  A good many white flowers are touchy prima donnas that when they are not sulking, perform listlessly.  But this anemone shines; it is vigorous, and easy to grow.  Though many would say they are best in part shade, I grow mine in full sun on a south wall. 

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The dark green trifoliate foliage reminiscent of a grape leaf grows about 30 inches tall for me. I have yet to see bugs or disease bother the plants. My criteria for a five-star perennial? Hardiness, ease of culture, handsome in or out of flower, disease and pest resistant, and good for cutting; this plant readily fulfills all my criteria. The flowers are born on very tall wiry dark stems that move gracefully in a breeze. 

Sept 23 042All of the varieties and hybrids of Japanese anemones (which originated in China, by the way) make a great addition to the perennial border.  The foliage is dense and low all summer, giving way to impossibly tall flower spikes.  The buds dot the stems, and give way to simple 6 to 8 petalled flowers of breathtaking beauty.

Sept 24 073The fringed halo of brilliant yellow stamens encircles the lime green stigma-ooh la la.  I have only had trouble growing anemones where the soil drains poorly.  As I believe that at least 80 per cent of winter hardiness hinges on good drainage, I plant bog plants in poorly drained areas, and work hard to improve the soil in my perennial gardens.  These anemones have been here about nine years.  I do have to thin them out in the spring, they are that vigorous.

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Anemones are pokey, waking up in the spring. I have been known to run my hoe over their crowns, messing about in the garden too early.  However,  if I have a mind to move or divide, early spring is the best time.  As the fibrous roots root deeply, they take poorly being dug in leaf.  They seem not to mind much before they get growing. The best success I have had moving anywhere and anytime I get from the old pink species, Anemone Robustissima.  This plant can readily hold its own in a meadow setting, and increase with the speed of a weed.   The grey-pink flowers are small and softly colored, and profuse. 

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Were I restricted to a palette of less than ten perennials, this one would make my list.  I am especially fond of late blooming perennials, and I am never happy about the gardening season coming to a close. I like asters and boltonia for the same reason.

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Anemones last well as cut flowers.  I like anemones, asparagus foliage, hydrangea and dahlias loosely arranged in a pitcher with whatever else I have going on in the garden. Having flowers to cut all summer long is one of the best reasons to have a perennial garden. 

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breathtaking-am I not right about that?