[SPAM] Re: Spring Anemones

John Grimshaw j.grimshaw@virgin.net
Thu, 16 Apr 2009 01:48:18 PDT
Last week, or perhaps the one before, in a general discussion about 
anemones, Jim McKenney asked:
>> What were the St. Piran anemones like: single, double, "aneomone
>> flowered"? How were they different from the ones we can buy now?

The St Piran strain of Anemone coronaria was developed in the 70s I believe, 
by the Rosewarne Horticultural Research Institute, as a rapid-growing seed 
strain that would enable Cornish cutflower growers to produce a better 
quality of anemone flowers. (St Piran is the patron of Cornwall). 
Essentially they are a De Caen type with more or less single flowers (an 
occasional semi-double) in the usual shades of blue, white, red etc.

I was at a school called St. Piran's and was therefore interested when seed 
was offered in mainstream seed catalogues in the early 80s, but the name 
soon disappeared from view and the strain was nearly lost. It has now been 
resurrected and tubers are commercially available; see 

I much prefer a bunch of these slightly irregular, short-stemmed traditional 
anemones to the magnificent, evidently F1, single colour, long-stemmed ones 
grown by Dutch (and other growers). I'm afraid I don't know the name or 
origin of these.They are stunning in quality, but somehow lack charm, and 
the reds always seem dilute compared with the true scarlet of the 
traditional cultivars.

Like Jim McKenney, I also regret the disappearance of the fabulous 
'anemone-centred' (i.e. with short petaloids instead of anthers in the 
centre) anemones, which feature so conspicuously in old Dutch flower 
paintings. The only one I've ever seen is a scarlet called 'Chapeau de 
Napoleon' but this seems to be exceedingly rare.

The St Bavo strain of A. pavonina has disappeared from catalogues it seems, 
but not from gardens. They are pleasantly pastel in shade. [As a digression, 
the magnificent St Bavo's Cathedral in Ghent (to give it it's English 
spelling), is home to the Ghent Altarpiece by the Van Eyck brothers, one of 
the great pieces of western art. It is one of two essential places to visit 
in Ghent, so far as I'm concerned: the other is the Tierenteyn mustard shop, 
where an incredibly good mustard is prepared fresh and sold only from that 
shop. It is amazing stuff that delivers an incredible rush... I have to 
organise a supply to keep the addiction fed and was getting very twitchy as 
the stock ebbed last year, but my parents then announced that they were 
going to Brussels for the weekend and I persuaded them that they would find 
a trip to Ghent very worthwhile...]

Back to anemones: A very good modern strain of Anemone pavonina is that sold 
by Ashwood Nurseries in the West Midlands, with large, brightly coloured 
flowers on long stems. They are very striking, persistent garden plants 
(though I find that the foliage gets eaten by rabbits). At Ashwood the 
proprietor John Massey has got them naturalised in grass, which is very 
effective, though the cynical might say the effect suggests the Teletubbies' 

John Grimshaw

Dr. John M. Grimshaw
Sycamore Cottage
GL53 9NP

Tel. 01242 870567

Spring Flowers at Colesbourne Park
Easter Monday, 13 April 2009, from 1pm

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