Pure perfection – the star of autumn

I have long been a fan of Japanese anemones*. They are great garden plants and so easy to grow. As a child I was fascinated by their simple-looking flowers on strong, wand like stems. Of course I was not bothered by the fact that they never need staking at that age nor that they drop their petals as they fade so a clump is always tidy. But I was fascinated by the green, spherical ‘seed heads’

As I started garden I valued the way they spread through even the stickiest clay soils to form weed-smothering clumps of coarsely divided foliage – dense enough to beat down ground elder. And I appreciated the way they could be left to get on with life for year after year with just the merest attention.

There are two potential problems – there are always some – and that is the way they can spread a bit too far and the fact that they can be a bit slow to establish and they do not like to be divided and probably grow more easily from root cuttings than lumps of their woody rootstocks. It is true that they can spread through the border but they are easy enough to dig out. I feel almost defensive for the plant – leave it alone – it is a beautiful, undemanding plant and deserves a bit of respect.

There are lots of cvs and every year there are a few new ones, usually in deeper pinks and with more compact habit. But I like the tall ones best. They bring colour and grace to the garden from late July onwards and they always look good.

And although most are pink, there are some whites too and it is these that capture my heart. They are the best of all white flowers in the garden. White flowers are fine but they have one big flaw – their beauty is ruined if dead flowers go brown and hang on among the fresh blooms. So this anemone has the advantage that the petals drop as they age so the plant always looks clean.

anemone whote

Yesterday at Mount Usher, having braved the rain, the sun came out just as I passed a rather spindly, expansive clump of white anemones, probably left to fight it out with the grass for decades. Their flowers floated in the sunbeams penetrating the trees overhead. I suspect this is ‘Honorine Jobert’ (the petals seem a bit too irregular) but it may be ‘Coupe d’Argent’ – I just don’t know. What I do know is that it was the most beautiful thing I saw all day – and I did go in the Avoca cake shop!

anemone whote2

anemone whote3

  • Variously A. vitifolium, A. x hybrida, A. hupehensis etc.

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6 Comments on “Pure perfection – the star of autumn”

  1. Maria F.
    August 30, 2015 at 10:42 pm #

    Beautiful Geoff!

  2. digwithdorris
    August 31, 2015 at 8:24 am #

    Beautiful photos. The whites are my favourite too. I do like the pinks in some areas but it can be a slightly grey pink, not a fresh pink at all. As for spreading, it has spread into the lawn where I work. Very annoying!

  3. derrickjknight
    August 31, 2015 at 8:29 am #

    They are wonderful

  4. Anne Cullen
    August 31, 2015 at 9:00 pm #

    You are SO right. Great description & wonderful photos

  5. Meriel
    September 2, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

    Hear hear. I’ve loads of ‘Honerine Jobert’ but have had a lot of diffificulty establishing the white one as have tried several times over the years. The deer have the odd nibble but not always & an established clump seems to withstand it.

    • thebikinggardener
      September 2, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

      Good to hear that the deer don’t like it as much as we do 🙂

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