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ODE TO THE JAPANESE ANEMONE | My 11 reasons why you need her in your garden

I just adore late summer.

The vibrant colors and the harvest baskets full of glistening tomatoes, green and yellow zucchini or courgettes, if you're in Britain), juicy peaches and fragrant plums.

It's summer's last hurrah.

And amidst all this abundance, a flower starts to bloom that I look forward to seeing every year: the Japanese anemone.

I know that people have different tastes, but I still struggle to understand why not everybody has her in their garden. She's stunningly beautiful, non-fussy and even grows in the shade. I don't know why but I feel it's much more appropriate to call her 'her'.

Whether she's blush, pink or white, single-flowered or double-flowered, she'll perk up your garden and create an enchanting focal point. Especially when you combine her with dahlias, purple top or roses. She'll create the most magical picture, one that immediately makes you feel like you're in a cottage garden.

So here's my list of reasons why everybody needs to add some Japanese anemones to their garden:

1. She's very undemanding

Just because this plant has all the grace and beauty of a highly-strung racehorse doesn't mean she behaves like one. At heart, she's really more of a cheerful country bumpkin. Hearty and robust, she never causes a fuss. I can even get her to grow in gravel! She might be a little bit smaller than her neighbors in the flower bed but still just as happy.

2. She's extremely low-maintenance

I don't have to fertilize her; I don't have to pesticide her (that's not something I do anyway) and the only time I cut her back is in the spring. And that literally takes less than 30 seconds per plant. I like to empty my coffee grounds out into the garden, so sometimes she gets a bit of that. But not always. And if I've got a bit of fresh soil left in the spring, I might give her some of that too.

3. She just keeps on flowering

And when I say she keeps on flowering, I mean she really keeps on flowering. And flowering.

In mid-July, I usually start to see the first blossoms and she'll still be at it all the way into October. But: it's important to note that doesn't apply to all varieties. Make sure you check before you buy. The label should usually tell you how long your plant will flower for.

4. She's happy in the shade

Some of my Japanese anemones only get a small amount of sunlight each day. And they're still happy.

5. She's happy in the sun

Then again, some of my Japanese anemones are in direct sunlight all day. And they're still happy.

6. She's a haven for bees They'll be all over her, happily buzzing away. Whether it's bees, butterflies, hoverflies or other beneficial insects, they all just adore her.

7. She's healthy and won't attract pests I don't want to make any promises here but none of my Japanese anemones have ever been diseased. In rare cases, sooty molds may start to grow on her, but this has never happened in my cottage garden. And pests (yes, even snails!) tend to give her a wide berth.

8. You can keep her in a vase

...and she's very happy there. She adds a kind of airiness to any bouquet, has a pleasing wildflower aesthetic and looks great with other flowers.

9. She self-seeds

Now, if you're somebody with a really small garden or someone who likes to garden with discipline and precision, you might not necessarily think this is a good thing. To me, that's great and perfect for a cottage garden. The more the merrier, I say! If she's happy, even a small plant will soon form a large, dense colony. And if it all gets a bit too much: I bet your neighbors are sure to appreciate a little plant gift. If you don't want her to self-seed, cut her right back as soon as she stops flowering.

10. They look beautiful in winter

If you leave the seeds alone, you're in for a treat come wintertime. Delicate, fluffy little white balls will decorate your garden throughout fall and winter months. She's one of the few plants that really gives you something to look at in the wintertime.

11. She's just so gorgeous!

And the best part? She's simply stunning. Not just kind of pretty, but breathtakingly beautiful. I'd still want her in my garden even if points 1 through 10 weren't true. For me, she really embodies the essence of a cottage garden.

Have I (gently) persuaded you yet? Can I do more?

Sarah, with the Japanese anemone obsession


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