ANEMONE or WIND FLOWER

P. A very variable genus, including some of the finest rock plants, and flowering in spring. Lime is desirable for most species. The following are specially recommended: Anemone hupehensis (japonica) succeeds in sun or semi-shade and is a first-class plant for the herbaceous border. It flowers in late summer, growing to about 3 ft. Louise Uhink (pure white), Margarete (rich pink) and Profusion (red) are good varieties. Plant in March and do not disturb unnecessarily. Increase by division in early autumn. A. Pulsatilla, now known as Pulsatilla vulgaris, is the well-known pasque flower which invariably fares best on lime. The bell-shaped, purplish-blue flowers are covered with silky hairs and appear in April on a plant about 6 in. high. Other varieties differing in colour and size include: P. v. Mrs Van der Elst (shrimp-pink and rare in cultivation); P. v. alba (white) and P. v. caucasica with rather smaller yellow flowers, growing to about 1 ft.; P. v. Halleri (reddish-purple). Increase by division in March. Pulsatilla vernalis also belongs to the pasque group. It reaches 6 in. The goblet-shaped, whitish-blue flowers are of surpassing beauty. The plant should be protected from excessive damp in winter by covering with a pane of glass.

The various forms of A. coronaria (the poppy-flowered anemone) are tuberous-rooted and are offered in bulb catalogues as St Brigid and De Caen which are strains in separate colours and mixed shades. They are both excellent for cutting. St Brigid varieties are semi-double or fully double with black and white markings on the frilled petaloid sepals (anemones have no petals in the strict botanical sense). Princess Elizabeth (warm salmon) and The Governor (vivid scarlet) are popular varieties. The De Caen type is single with more solid blooms. Mr Fokker and His Excellency are blue and white respectively.

Large tubers do not give the best results, the 2—3 cm. size being quite big enough. They are very sensitive to damp and must always be stored in an absolutely dry place, although soaking in water for 48 hours before planting often helps germination.

Both types should be planted 2 in. deep and 4 in. apart and if possible grown on a heavy loam. If the soil is acid, work in a dressing of lime.

Well-rotted compost should also be incorporated as rich soil is essential for the production of quality blooms. February is a good month to plant, although planting from October to April ensures a succession of bloom from early spring to July. Anemone foliage is very susceptible to frost damage whether in winter or spring and bracken or straw should be used for protection when this seems likely.

On some soils, these anemones can be successfully naturalised, but in many gardens it is best to lift the tubers every second year after the foliage has died down and replant at the usual time. The plants will not survive on thin, dry soils and failures can often be traced to inadequate soil preparation.

A. fulgens is brilliant scarlet and tolerates a drier soil. It prefers a sunny position and is ideal for the front of a border, especially planted with the double white arabis. A. apennina is bright blue, flowering in March. A. blanda atrocoerulea is a deeper blue; and A. nemorosa, the wood anemone, white or blue, is useful for naturalising under trees and in other shady places.

A. obtusiloba patula, popularly known as the blue buttercup, grows to about 10 in. height, having stems lying flat on the ground and large soft blue flowers produced from summer until early autumn. A warm, gritty, well-drained soil is desirable. Increase by seed which drops when still green and should be sown immediately.

The St Brigid and De Caen anemones may be increased by seed sown outdoors in May, most other types being propagated by division in spring or autumn.

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