Photo by Missouri Botanical Garden
Autumn Anemone (Japanese anemone)
Big, robust, showy. At five years old, my plant was already three feet tall and three feet wide. One year, when late summer luckily turned cool just as the plant began to bloom, there were two hundred flowers open at once. From a distance the plant looked like a shrubby maple with its own personal white cloud above it. The show continued, with fewer flowers, until frost. Every flower stalk branches several times and the stalk and branches end in a candelabra of five or more round flower buds that open one after the other. That accounts for the long show.
One plant can soon become several, or a nuisance. The plant spreads by underground stems that tunnel about four inches deep. At six inches or more from the parent plant the stems turn upward and emerge as a green shoot that rapidly grows roots and leaves. Roger Swain (red suspenders, beard - former host of The Victory Garden on PBS ) told me that it’s too vigorous in New England, trespassing on its neighbors and outgrowing them. Here in Des Moines, no problem. I dig up the wandering offshoots every year or two and the parent plant stays the same size.
This year I have two plants: the parent and one offshoot that I left untouched to grow larger. Sometime today, I’ll move the offshoot to the garden in the traffic circle on my street. There are other autumn anemones, many in shades of rose and pink. To name a few: ‘Pamina,’ ‘Queen Charlotte,’ ‘Robustissima,’ and ‘September Charm.’
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