Plant of the month: Japanese anemone

Delicate and airy yet tough and shade-tolerant, Japanese anemones light up shady borders

In 1848, pale pink Anemone × hybrida was raised at the RHS’s garden at Chiswick and about ten years later, ‘Honorine Jobert’ appeared as a sport in France on a plant imported from England.

This Japanese anemone is a fabulous late summer plant, best in partial shade, but tolerates sun. Masses of cup-shaped pure white flowers open from pink-blushed buds on tall stems and bloom from August to October. The pink tinge on the underside of the petals remain. A green centre surrounded by a corolla of bright yellow stamens set off the whiteness of the petals and vine-like semi-evergreen leaves are dark green.

After the flowers have faded, cut back the stalks and in the spring, apply a generous mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant to give it a cool root-run. It resents disturbance but it will need lifting and dividing as clumps become congested. They sometimes spread rapidly through runners, and can be invasive but are well worth the extra work in digging out unwanted plants.
 
At Rosemoor, we grow it in the Long Border, along with rose-pink Lythrum virgatum 'The Rocket', and in front of the architectural globes of Echinops 'Nivalis'. The dark green of the holly hedge makes a perfect backdrop. In the AGM garden look out for it close to the distinctive green panicles of Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' and the slender racemes of starry white flowers of Lysimachia ephemerum. In the Cottage Garden, it seems to have spread itself around, probably inadvertently when the gardeners have moved other plants and unintentionally transplanted a bit of root. Happy associations include the dark leaves and white flowers of Iceberg roses and Achillea filipendulina 'Gold Plate' AGM matching the yellow stamens of the anemone.

‘Honorine Jobert’ is perfect for lighting up a dark corner or the back of a border where the white flowers are easy to appreciate out of the glare of direct sun. If you can give this anemone a dark background such as a yew hedge, holly or a painted fence, it will lighten the space and shine out into the border.

Find suppliers of Anemone × hybrida 'Honorine Jobert' AGM

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