Anemone blanda
Thu, 23 Jun 2011 13:02:24 PDT
On 22 Jun 2011, at 18:21, Kathleen Sayce wrote:

> I know Anemone blanda is considered an easy bulb to grow. But not for me: I've
> managed to kill it off more times than I can recall, so I want to know who grows
> it successfully, year after year, and the details of the conditions in your
> garden, please.

Anemone blanda is a very successful plant in my gardeen here at Victoria, BC. 
Though my place is a squelchy quagmire in the winter, this charming little 
spring flower flowers well every spring and increasing with reasonable freedom. 
Even the various cultivars, which can be tricky to keep going, do well. I'm 
thinking particularly of the bright magenta 'Radar' and the white-with-blue-
reverse 'Scythinica'.

My soil is fairly heavy, though for some mysterious reason it is not sticky 
when wet. Anemone blanda is a Greek plant and this might lead you to thinking 
that lime is essential, but I rarely apply lime to my garden yet the anemone 

According to various online resources, Aberdeen, Washington (the nearest town 
to Willapa Bay) gets abt 85" of rain a year, while Victoria gets under 25" in 
town. (Abt 35" at Victoria Airport, whence most weather data for Victoria is 
derived.) IOW, you get something like 3 or 4 times as much rainfall as I do. 
That is probably the key difference.

If you are damned and determined to grow Anemone blanda, I suggest the 
following tactics:

1. Soak the dry tubers in water for a few days after receiving them, until they 
have plumped up.

2. Plant in as well-drained and sunny a location as you have, as soon as 
possible in the fall, and water in well, *once*.

3. Put something over the planting for the winter to keep the rain off. An old-
fashioned barn cloche would be ideal, but afaik they are no longer made and 
probably unobtainable. The soil will still be damp during the winter, but at 
least not soaking wet. (Google images offers photos of barn cloches, in case 
you don't know what they look like.)

4. Take your rain guard off in the early spring when the foliage begins to 
emerge, then put it back after the foliage fades in late spring. You get 
significant summer rainfall and you want to keep the tubers as dry as possible 

An alternate strategy would be to grow it on the sunny side of a conifer that 
will suck the soil nearly dry even in the winter.

You may also want to consider lifting the tubers when the foliage begins to die 
back and storing them dry in paper bags for the summer, replanting around 
Labour Day.

This is a lot of trouble, admittedly, but such is life when one attempts to 
grow plants that are fundamentally unsuited to one's climate.

Scilla peruviana presents similar problems. I've read complaints from folks 
living in Vancouver BC that while it grows for them, it doesn't flower. In my 
own garden, it thrives and flowers beautifully with no special treatment. I 
plant it not too far from the south wall of my house, which gives it a modicum 
of shelter from the worst of winter cold and slightly better drainage than out 
in the open garden. Again, the problem is likely that Vancouver gets too much 
rain, though it may be summer rainfall that keeps the soil too cool for proper 
ripening of the bulbs.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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