– Windflower, Wood flower, Japanese Anemone
Three inches to four feet.
Flowers of many colours, March to October.
A very large order, with the two main divisions
and several minor ones.
The first section includes all the bulbous, or,
more properly, tuberous rooted kinds, such as
the small-flowered blue Apennine or the white
nemorosa (the wood anemone) as well as the larger
species, hortensis or coronaria, the many-coloured
garden sorts blooming both in spring and in autumn.
The other main division is that of the fibrous-rooted
sorts, commonly called Japanese Anemones, flowering
in September and October.
Anemones of the tuberous family are not a race
that will grow anywhere and anyhow.
They show their like or dislike of their quarters
quickly and unmistakably; and where, with ordinary
care given, they do not thrive, it is much better
for one’s peace of mind to give them up
at once, and sill the void with something else
which enjoys the conditions they abhor. “A
deep rich loam” is the ideal soil for them,
as for most other things, but there are some solid
fairly answering to this description to which
the anemone will have nothing to say.
The small-flowered anemones, the Continental
and American relations of the white wind-flower
of our own woods, should be planted in large groups
or lines in beds or borders; but no doubt they
look best in large masses in grass.
Any one who finds room for bulb planting in turf
should try a patch of Apennine, planting about
two inches deep in autumn.
Besides this kind, which is of one of the loveliest
shades of light blue, Robinsoniana, a paler blue,
nemorsoa fl. pl. a double, and sylvestris, a single
white, may also be grown.
With these may be classes Anemone pulsatilla,
the Pasque Flower, a strong grower whose stems
are covered with a silky down, and whose flowers
are two or three inches in diameter, of a beautiful
light purple; it needs a deep and dry soil, and
All this section bloom in April, and may be left
to their own devices for several years after planting.
The next order is that of the Garden Anemones,
the large, single, semi-double and double flowers
in many very vivid and beautiful colours, which
have been produced from the old Anemone coronaria
from the east, and the Italian A. hortensis.
They are divided into the Giant French, a very
strong-growing race, double and single, the Dutch,
double and single, the Irish or St. Brigid, and
the double Chrysanthemum-flowered.
In all these there is not much difference in form;
the colours range from pure white through several
shades of blue, violet, both light and dark, pink
and rosy shades, to a very brilliant red which
may fairly be called vermilion.
Of this last colour there are two or three particular
examples, such as Fulgens, and the King of Scarlets,
known as “Gilberts’ Extra Selected.”
The garden anemones may, without any great trouble,
be raised from seed; a good strain of mixed doubles
and singles should be obtained; the Irish or St.
Brigid is, perhaps, the best of the coronaria
family for this purpose.
The scarlet Fulgens is also easy to grow from
seed. Seedlings may be brought on under glass
from sowings in February; but this is not essential.
Thoroughly dig up a patch of good ground early
in the year, putting some old cow-manure (if it
can be obtained) in the bottom of the trench,
and mixing with the upper layers any elements
of good compost that may be handy – old
turf, leaf-mould or road scrapings.
At the beginning of March sow the seed thinly
on the bed and rake it in lightly or cover it
with a little fine compost.
Anemone seed should be as new as possible; old
seed is worthless, and the best is capricious,
and may be a long time in appearing above the
The seed is thickly covered with a woolly down,
and sticks tenaciously together; it must be separated
before it is sown, and for small quantities no
doubt the fingers make the best job; it may be
rubbed with dry sand, which to some extent overcomes
the stickiness, and seed and sand should be sown
The seed-bed will need weeding and surface stirring
as soon as the plants appear, and should have
water in dry times.
The seedlings should be thinned out to six inches
apart, and the thinnings may, with care and a
little nursing, be safely planted out.
Plants thus raised should give some flowers in
the autumn, and a full display in the following
Seed may be sown in July, for plants to flower
the next summer; this sowing must have some shade
wither from a wall or a temporary shelter of mats,
Those who do not wish to give the time and trouble
involved in raising anemones from seed must buy
the dry tubers and plant them in September or
October, two inches deep and five or six feet
apart, in well-prepared soil.
The old fanciers, who used to shade their flowers
from the sun with awnings, were particular about
the digging the bed out two feet deep, filling
it with cow dung two years old and old pasture
loam, and raising the surface six inches above
the ground level.
The ordinary gardener, without going to this length,
should remember that depth of good soil and moisture
with drainage are more than half the battle with
anemones. The dry tubers are somewhat irregular
and flat in shape; a little examination will show
the eyes from which growth starts on one side
of the roots; this side must be placed upwards
in the soil.
The Japanese or fibrous-rooted Anemones are amongst
the hardiest and most long-suffering of perennials.
The type Japonica alba is from two to four feet
high, the flowers, which come most opportunely
in autumn, are white with gold stamens, carried
on very stiff stems above the spreading tuft of
handsome cut foliage.
The roots are blank and thong-like, and should
be planted in October with the collar just at
ground level, in good strong soil.
The plant is very accommodating and will grow
and flower in unlikely places out of the sun and
under trees; but this should not be made a pretext
for denying it its proper chances.
It is one of the admirable self-supporting few,
and seeds no sticks or string.
When the flower stems are withered about November,
they should be cut down to the ground and a good
dressing of leaf mould, grit and wood-ashes (but
no fresh manure) scattered over the group.
After two or three years the clumps should be
forked up and the most vigorous pieces of root
replanted in a new site well dug and manured.
Single clumps look well in mixed borders, but
any one who has the space to spare should plant
large belts and patches, if practical, where they
will tell against a dark background of shrubs
or other greenery.
Besides the white type, and its “improved”
descendants, such as Lady Ardilaun (white, very
large flowers) or Whirlwind (semi-double white),
there are Japanese anemones in several pink or
rosy shades, such as hybrida or elegans, rosea
superba, or Brilliant.
These colours are apt to be rather insignificant
and “washed-out;” where there is room
they may supplement the white varieties, but should
never supplant them.
See Also Windflower