Just when summer blooms begin to fade, classic perennial Japanese anemones get into their stride and delight us with a succession of flowers into autumn. Little wonder that this has been chosen as the garden trade’s Plant of the Month for September 2014!
Not only have Japanese anemones been chosen by plant experts throughout the land but it is also the Garden Media Guild’s Photographer of the Year’s choice too! Jason Ingram lives in Bristol and you will see his work in many of the best garden books, in Gardener’s World and in Gardens Illustrated magazines. I first got to know Jason when he was taking pictures for the tremendously successful local Wrington restaurant The Ethicurean and it was when I assisted the chef Jack Bevan there to hunt wild meat for their hugely successful The Ethicurean Cookbook.
Japanese Anemones, also known as the Windflowers, can be grown in sun or shade and are good for lighting up a dark corner of the garden. They like well-drained soil and often spread by themselves, creating new clumps that can be lifted and planted elsewhere.
This is one of those plants that can be easily propagated by root cuttings in winter! The beauty of this is that there are no leaves or shoots drying out the cutting and exhausting its’ stored food reserves before a new root system develops. This means that, once prepared, planted and watered, the cuttings are extremely easy to care for. Another distinct advantage of propagating Japanese Anemones this way is that the number one pest of this plant only attacks the leaves. So root cuttings are free of this leaf and stem eelworm pest and there is really no better way of keeping plants free of it. [note – border Phlox can be treated in the same way].
There are many varieties from white through to almost red and the plant flowers reliably every year from August through to October. Anemones are hardy and easy to grow, so very good for beginners and experts alike. They are versatile around the garden in sun or shady places.
A multitude of flowers are produced throughout late summer and autumn and are ideal subjects for cut flowers.
Here is what Garden Media Guild Award winning Gardeners’ World photographer Jason Ingram has to say about them – “Japanese Anemones are extremely photogenic flowers which brighten up the garden in late-summer or autumn, producing simple saucers in white and various shades of pink” he says. “They are a ‘must have’ border plant for the Autumn and put on a fantastic display in the period where most gardens are starting to look tired and over. I love that their beauty adds a whole new dimension of colour and texture to my garden.”
Recommended RHS AGM varieties include:
Anemone × hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’ [large single white]
Anemone hupehensis var. japonica ‘Pamina’ [semi double dark pink]
Anemone hupehensis ‘September Charm’ [single pink]
Japanese anemone ‘Queen Charlotte’ [semi-double pink]
At Cleeve Nursery we grow these varieties and several others and whilst we always try to grow enough in our own production nursery, we have found that demand for Japanese Anemones [and for other herbaceous perennials] has been exceptionally strong so that we have had to source more stock from other local West Country growers.
At Chelsea Flower Show in 2011 Anemone Wild Swan was chosen as the Plant of the Year! For some time, it was very difficult to actually obtain this plant due partly to huge demand but also because of propagation difficulties. This beautiful and much longer blooming variety is propagated in vitro or what is more widely known as tissue culture. This means that it starts its’ life on agar in a sterile laboratory. So far this year we have grown three batches of 70 plants and they have been snapped up as soon as they are fit for sale! At Cleeve Nursery we think that this, and perhaps other varieties being selected and bred by Elizabeth MacGregor in Scotland, heralds an exciting new future for this wonderful cottage garden perennial.
Do you share ours and Jason’s love of these hardy perennial plants?
Where have they done well for you in your garden?
Have you combined growing Japanese Anemones with other late flowering plants to good effect? If so, would you like to share your experience with us?
UPDATE AUGUST 2016
Anemone Wild Swan, whilst a great leap forward in plant breeding, has now largely been superseded by the next generation from Elizabeth MacGregor. So in our Cleeve Nursery production nursery we now grow Ruffled Swan and Dreaming Swan. Both are summer blooming as opposed to the taller more familiar x hybrida and hupehensis types.
Dreaming Swan is described by its breeder as “The first flowers to appear are single, followed by the typical large semi-double white, blue backed flowers, from the end of June until October. Compact, nice vigorous upright habit to 50 cm. high. Sun or part shade, fertile soil.”
Ruffled Swan is described as “Vigorous, taller form, height 70-80 cm. White semi-double flowers with blue backs 9 cm across. Continuous flowering mid-June to end October. For fertile soil in sun or shade, here it flourishes in deep shade.”