Asters and chrysanthemums may be a few of the most popular and plentiful autumn blooms, but they are not the only flowers that aim to delight in the late season garden! While lesser known, but no less in appeal, Japanese Anemones also bring a delicate and sweet touch of wonderment to the autumn landscape.
Rich in varying heritage, the ethereal Japanese Anemone, despite its name, is not even from Japan! History has it that the early European settlers first set their eyes on this flower when exploring Japan; little did they know that the flowers had been imported and cultivated by the Japanese gardeners for generations! From this instance, the Europeans labeled this flower Anemone Japonica, and it stuck. This flowering plant is also commonly known as windflower, of which the Greek work “anemos” means wind and “anemone” translates to the daughter of the wind. Greek folklore says that the Roman scholar Pliny Elder declared that these flowers were opened by the wind, and that’s how it was known. With such varying and rich histories from around the globe, today you may find that these anemone plants are most frequently labeled Anemone Hupehensis, or Chinese anemone. It has since been discovered that this plant is a native of the Hupeh province in eastern China and was first discovered growing in a cemetery in Shanghai in the mid 1800s.
No matter which tale you choose to endorse, the fact of the matter is that this blooming beauty deserves a spot within your landscape! After your warm-weather buds have fallen away for the season, all hope is not lost for landscape color. This charming plant provides ample green leafy foliage throughout the spring and summer, but shows its full petal potential when the weather gets a little cooler in the fall season. Sitting atop wire-thin stems, the delicate white petals rise 2-4’ above its own foliage, ready to sway in the breeze and be met with longing gazes. While there are more than 120 reported species of anemone, they are typically white, pink or lavender in color which is a definitive way to be set apart from the common fall plants showboating in rich oranges and reds.
Depending on the selected variety for your garden, the anemone’s shallow saucer-like petals may be a single or double petal orientation and either plain or ruffled in formation. Anemones look beautiful massed together to create a focal point within the garden, but they also work quite well mixed in with the other fall bloomers like goldenrod and aster. You may also find that utilizing these graceful giants will balance wonderfully against the substantial players in the autumn landscape such as hostas, ferns and ornamental grasses! However, no matter which anemone selected and how gentle and elegant they may seem, you can rely on this hardy and dependable perennial to hold its own and return year after year to engage the senses.
Recommended to be planted in the spring, anemone needs about a year or two to become established but is quick to form an ample groundcover that can spread quickly given the right conditions. Anemone prefers light or partial shade (which is great news for a struggling shade garden!) but can tolerate full sun if planted in an area with rich and moist soil. Now, when we say full sun, we don’t mean a location that receives the blazing afternoon sun, but rather, full morning sun that will expire before the mid-day heat sets in. Whether this plant is introduced by a fence, along a border or in a landscape bed, providing a good base of mulch will help retain the moisture during the warmer months and also act as insulation during the winter.
Notably flowering as early as June and continuing as far into November as possible, the appearance of the anemone flower buds is one of the first indications that summer is coming to a close and the cooler and shorter days are on their way. Keeping a low profile in your landscape all summer long, and coming to colorful life when your garden is fading and needs it most is a characteristic that makes this plant a must-have for your property. From the first breezes of autumn to bringing another year to a close in the garden, this plant is worth prominent placement within the garden.
MasterPLAN Landscape Design has an extensive background in low maintenance plantings and are experts in the field of outdoor living! We are eager to share our knowledge with our clients, as education is the key to success. If your property feels uninspired and you would like to discuss your outdoor living desires , reach out to MasterPLAN. We specialize in backyard transformations that not only look beautiful, but are custom-tailored to function best for you and your family! When you are ready to chat about the backyard of your dreams, we are ready to listen!
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