In praise of anemones

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With the rest of the garden full of delicately pastel petals, white pear blossom, and the pinks of the camellia, the jewel-like colours of the anemones are a welcome pop of bright colour.

Red Anemone

Ranging from dark purple to coral red to green-tinged white, the colours are beautifully intense. When caught by shafts of late afternoon spring sunshine, they glow with hues reminiscent of stained glass windows.

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The name anemone means ‘daughter of the windflower’, coming from the Greek word ‘anemos’ meaning wind. Ovid’s Latin poem ‘Metamorphoses’ tells of the flower’s creation by the goddess Venus when she sprinkled nectar on the blood of her dead lover Adonis.

Purple Anemone

Despite looking sturdy of flower, anemones will do all they can to protect their dark pollen-filled centres. As evening approaches or rain falls, they bend their heads and draw their petals in close, only unfurling again when the sun reappears. There are around 150 varieties of anemone, including the bright Anemone De Caen, the pale blue Anemone blanda, the dwarf wood anemones (Alys Fowler has written a lovely piece on these) and the prolifically flowering Japanese anemone.

So really, there’s an anemone for any spot in your garden – I’m thinking of planting some of the shade loving wood anemones (Anemone nemorosa) around the base of our pear tree. The anemones in my garden this year were a bargain purchase from a local discount supermarket – one of those “ooh they look nice, let’s plant those and see what happens” moments.  (For a more technical and knowledgeable guide to growing anemones, read Sarah’s how to)

Purple Anemone

P.S. For some wonderful and fascinating macro photography of anemones, do visit this site.

Thanks for reading,

helen