Plant of the Month: Japanese Anemone
The name anemone comes from the Greek word anemos, which means wind which explains why anemones are sometimes called windflowers. The term Japanese anemone is misleading as it is actually a native of China, but was grown in Japanese gardens for centuries, hence the confusion. The plant was introduced into Europe in 1844 by Robert Fortune, who discovered it growing between tombstones in a Shanghai graveyard. It was one of several long-lives, ethereal plants used to commemorate the dead. These late season perennials send out spring-like blooms when the garden is becoming quite tired looking. The bloom colors range from pure white to deep, rosy pinks to carmine reds. There are single, semi-double and double forms. These beautiful blooms appear on tall, upright stems which reach 2 to 3 feet in height, allowing them to gently sway on the breeze, giving it a Zen-like quality. Anemones like part sun, preferable morning to early afternoon sun. The hot afternoon sun tends to burn the foliage. While these plants are prized for their autumn blooms, the beautiful maple-like foliage should not be overlooked.
Anemones may take a while to become established and will eventually spread through underground rhizomes. Anemones do not tolerate drought conditions well, but at the same time, do not like to be overly wet. Good loamy soil suits this plant well. Team this plant with hostas in a boarder or in front of evergreen shrubs or just about anywhere there is a little shade.
In flower-lore, anemone takes on a dark note, meaning ‘fading hope and a feeling of being forsaken’, but to end this with a positive tone, it also symbolizes anticipation. So as blooms of anemone fade with the first frost of winter, its late spring-like blooms tell us that spring will be here before we know it.