Spring Anemones (A. blanda)

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Wed, 08 Apr 2009 09:43:49 PDT
I don’t have any trouble believing Ellen’s account of the performance of
Anemone blanda under her conditions. She can probably grow English irises up
there in Oswego, something we can’t do here as far as I know. 


The question of soil acidity in particular is easy to believe because I have
known A. blanda to self sow on acid clay here. But such plants do not
persist, and the self-sowing does not seem to produce persistent colonies.


I mentioned lime as a likely need for these plants in our climate. But what
I really should have said is calcium – the pH is probably not the issue. 


Ellen mentioned her beneficent snow cover as a possible explanation. Maybe-
I sometimes wish I had reliable snow cover here to compare!


But for us, winter hardiness is probably not part of the equation. 


I’m convinced that it’s what happens in June which is the decisive factor
here: our soils warm up very disagreeably. Fusarium goes berserk. Tulips and
colchicums begin to rot when they should be ripening. 


And I think that’s when the anemones depart – forever. 


We are now approaching the 400th anniversary of the first permanent European
settlements in what is now the State of Maryland. I can’t cite a date, but I
would not be surprised to learn that tulips of some sort have been grown in
this state for at least three-hundred of those years. Certainly for the last
century Marylanders have planted their share of tulips. But there is no
tulip growing tradition in Maryland that I’m aware of. The past is gone
forever, and the present looks forward only to the next blooming season,
when the tulips will be enjoyed, then forgotten, and then, sometimes,


By now our gardens should be stuffed with bulbs, bursting at the seams with
bulbs; they should be so common that they can’t be given away. But they are
not. We bulb growers seem to be in deep denial about this; we’re fighting an
uphill battle. I’ve often wondered about the percentage of newly planted
tulip bulbs which survive into the third year in our gardens: do we need
more than one digit to express this? 


Our soils eat bulbs, and we’ve kept them very well fed for a long time! 


Jim McKenney


Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/

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