Anemone bIanda

This cheerful blue anemone, or wind-flower, times its arrival neatly for the moment when the snowdrops fade, just when you are looking for another wave of spring bulbs, and continues to flower over several weeks. It looks best naturalized under small trees, like whitebeams, or among deciduous shrubs, though in the well-drained alkaline soil which it prefers it will also seed itself in grass. It will grow in sun or light shade and seeds freely, but can be a nuisance if it takes to your flower-beds, from which it is best removed. The species is mid-blue, a starry flower with many petals and typical feathery anemone leaves, but there are pink and mauve forms, and an attractive white one with larger flowers.

If you have not the space to let A. blanda naturalize, plant the rhizomes 4 inches (10 cm) apart in a special bed packed with other small spring bulbs -muscan, irises, tulip species, and perhaps some polyanthus. By summer, this bed will look a bit of a mess, but planting for a special season creates a unique picture which successional planting cannot achieve, and massed spring bulbs recall the enchantment of Botticelli’s Primavero.

They grow in profusion on branching stems about 3 feet (90 cm) tall. The leaves, which begin to make their mark long before flowering time, are like vine-leaves. These anemones are said to do best in heavy soil.

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