Monday, January 11, 2010

Gardening: Japanese Anemones

Photograph of Japanese Anemone Honorine Jobert.
There is a large box bush, and in front of it is a fat clump, three feet across, of the plain white Japanese anemone...

... Some might argue that no plant is beautiful or ugly in itself, but all depends on how it is used. Those who think so are wrong.

Henry Mitchell, One Man's Garden

The passage above inspired me to seek out the Japanese anemone, and subsequently to fall in love with it. You know my passionate dedication to fried chicken, right? My attachment to the Japanese anemone is similarly intense, or perhaps one might say obsessive. It is the best flowering plant. Period.

It has specific practical advantages, of course. Can I quote Henry Mitchell again?
For small gardens, which require of a plant not only handsomeness of flower but good-looking foliage and orderly habits as well, the Japanese anemone is a perfect choice. Moreover, its wonderful combination of vigor and refinement is epecially welcome in late summer when most things look a bit blowsy. It is soundly perennial, and spreads a bit but could hardly be called invasive.
Photo of Japanese anemone foliage.All of that is true, and that's why I feel perfectly sensible about having clumps of these growing on the street, and along the north side of the house. And I plan on even more in the half-shady areas adjacent to the vegetable garden and the south lawn, and maybe accompanying the roses that we're going to plant along the garage wall.  It's sensibly long-blooming - our several clumps, in varying patches of sun and shade, bloom for weeks in August, September, and sometimes well into October.

But all that sensibleness is just an excuse. It's really about the flower. To me, the white blossom of Japanese Anemone Honorine Jobert is the most beautiful flower in the plant kingdom. And without even having a perfume.

All that praise for Honorine Jobert is not to say that the others, both white and pink, aren't worth growing. Prince Henry, Alice, Party Dress, and the other relatives are less elegant, but happier and more whimsical.  All of the varieties I've tried grow very easily and survive with limited water, though they do need decent watering in order to bloom. They do bloom with a good deal of shade, a valuable characteristic in our low-sun garden.

Photo of pink Japanese anemone.
I'm a little confused about the relationships - Anemone hupehensis, Anemone hupehensis var. Japonica, Anemone Japonica - but I'm happy to grow them all. I've never grown Anemone tomentosa 'Robustissima', a larger and grander pink cousin, but I intend to.

Oddly, I never cut Japanese anemones of any type for the house, and I'm newly surprised each time that I read that they're suitable for cutting. I think that cutting them and taking them inside, then tossing them out once they fade, would just feel too irreverent.

Photos: Mine.

No comments:

Post a Comment