Anemone X hybrida

This clumsily named herbaceous plant is what we all know as ‘Japanese anemones’, but is a hybrid of several wild species, and we have to accept this nomenclature.

It is a beautiful plant, flowering from late summer into autumn, and has many virtues and one vice. Taking the virtues first, it is hardy, healthy and perennial, delightful in flower and leaf, and requires no staking. The vice – it is dreadfully invasive, and in a mixed border will turn up in the middle of your favourite rosebush, or at the front of the border with your dwarf campanulas. It is therefore safest to grow it among shrubs.

The flowers are shallow saucers with soft pink or pure white petals surround- light soil, so I think they will grow anywhere, but are better in sun than shade. They are slow starters, so do not expect great rewards for at least two years. Eventually, the roots go very deep, and they resent being moved, so give much thought to their placing. Plant them 1 feet (60 cm) apart.

Of a number of varieties on the market. I commend ‘Queen Charlotte’, a rosy pink, and the white ‘Honorine Jobert’, both of them single-flowered, for in the double forms the anemone’s essential simplicity is always lost.

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