Cooler temperatures raise the curtain on the performance called autumn starring colorful leaves, pumpkins and fall-blooming perennials. Some of my favorite stars of this seasonal show are Japanese anemones or windflowers, botanically known as Anemone x hybrida.
Fall blooming anemones offer simple, but elegant flowers, each with five rounded petals – unless they are a semi-double or double form – in shades of pink, lavender or white and feature yellow stamens in their centers. Blooms are held atop wiry stems, reaching three feet or more, well above the foliage. Many varieties begin blooming in August and continue into fall.
Plants sport dark green, grape-like foliage that is attractive from the time it emerges in spring until it is blackened by frost. Some varieties spread to form colonies; others are better behaved. Japanese anemones grow best in light to part shade, but will tolerate full sun if given enough moisture. They will not, however, survive in poorly-drained soil. They prefer not to be disturbed once established, so plant them where they can stay.
Japanese anemones are beautiful planted with fall-blooming chums like asters, mums, Joe-pye weed and ornamental grasses. Position a pumpkin or two nearby to complete the seasonal spectacle.
Reportedly, Japanese beetles have an appetite for Japanese anemones but in my garden, these ravenous beasties focus on the porcelain vine and Harry Lauder’s walking stick and leave my Japanese anemones untouched.
The Perennial Plant Association named Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’ the 2016 Perennial Plant of the Year – high praise for a perennial.
Honorine Jobert presents pure white flowers held high over the foliage from late summer to mid-fall. It spreads by rhizomes so give it plenty of space in a cottage garden or perennial border.
Whirlwind is another white variety similar in size to Honorine Jobert, but sports semi-double flowers that begin blooming a bit earlier.
Pamina displays deep pink flowers. It is more compact than other varieties, growing just over two feet tall.
A robust variety, Robustissima shows off lavender-pink blooms nearly four feet above the foliage. It is best suited for colonizing a large space. Give it the space it requires or it will take it by force, overpowering other perennials in its path.
Check out Japanese anemones at your local garden center, purchase your favorites, grab a shovel, and garden with me!