Japanese Anemone: bruiser or bashful?

In my early years, I championed these beautiful perennial plants…..

Fast forward to today and Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’, the white one, has been named the 2016 Perennial Plant of the Year.

Yet if you go to the Perennial Plant Association website and click on “2016 Perennial Plant of the Year“, you’ll find the briefest description of this winner, along with a cheeky come-on to buy their stylish t-shirts…..am I missing something?  Shouldn’t this organization give me some information about this chosen perennial?  Why do I have to go to other sites to learn about ‘Honorine Jobert’ and how it can best grace my garden?

Never mind as I’ll do my own research…

The cultivar known as ‘Honorine Jobert’ was “discovered in the garden of Messier Jobert in Verdun, France in 1858 as a chance sport of A. x hybrida. M. Jobert propagated it and named it for his daughter, Honorine.”

In all honesty, when I first set eyes on A. x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’, it was love at first sight.  Adoring everything white, I favoured it over its pink nerdy older brother who seemed to be more commonly available at the nurseries and a more robust grower.  Why is it gardeners always want the plants that are weaker, more refined and less vigorous?

North American sites give ‘Honorine Jobert’ a hardiness rating of Zone 4, while the Royal Horticultural Society in Great Britain gives it a Zone 7 which actually concurs as it means it is “hardy in the severest European continental climates — that is, colder than minus 20.

But my experience has shown me otherwise.  Like the less hardy white-flowered Lenten rose (Helleborus x hybridus, compared with the so-called Christmas rose, Helleborus niger — read Tony Avent’s opus here), this white Japanese anemone has shown itself to me to be less winter-tolerant than its pink relative.  Less vigorous when first planted, but still about to flower, perhaps I should have chopped off its head, allowing the roots to settle in and beef up before the shock of winter, much like they recommend with garden chrysanthemums.  But no – I wanted it all.

So, when it was no more in the spring, I happily went out and settled for Anemone x hybrida ‘September Charm’ and waited for it to be equally temperamental.  But this plant is a thug!  And it does pain me to say that as it is such a beautiful bloomer and is virtually untouched by any insect, disease or anything you throw at it.  It spreads by creeping rhizomes and its roots search out crevasses between flagstones or underneath interlocking stone and settle in, not to be dissuaded by anyone or anything.  Pulling by hand will not remove them — you will need a shovel.

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But wait! What the heck is this about?  ^^ On one of my late summer walks, I spied this giant clump of ‘Honorine Jobert’ in a front garden planting….towering over newly planted flaming Berberis and dwarf burning bush.  What makes it think it can act like a shrub in this protected south facing garden, where I know for a fact, there is no one there to carefully coddle it?

I fully intend to re-visit this garden in the spring and poke around for any evidence that it has come through this weird and wet winter.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Japanese Anemone: bruiser or bashful?”

  1. Such a beautiful plant and so welcome in the late garden composition. Unfortunately, it is now considered invasive in west coast gardens. I had a lovely drift of a white cultivar that caught the late day sun through its flowers and had to remove all of it – it was taking over the entire garden! Sometimes the mild west coast weather limits us from enjoying lovely plants like the Japanese Anemone.

    1. Laurel, I didn’t realize it was considered invasive out there, but knew it was on the invasive list somewhere! I would imagine it’s not a stretch to think that the white version would be so thuggish in a more temperate climate than ours, given its pink siblings tendency to do that. Boy, can you imagine how much of your world ‘September Charm’ would take over!? You’ll have to just enjoy them in pictures now I guess….Thanks for commenting!

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