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Anemones offer fill, flowers and grace

I AM HARD AT WORK making a list and checking it twice. My list is not for the holidays, but of late fall and winter garden chores I want to complete before the busy season of spring. Have you started your winter garden chore list? 

One of the items on my list is to divide some anemones to fill in an expanded garden space I made. Anemones have had the reputation of being the “thugs” of the garden because they would spread and take over moist, partly shady areas. Modern day varieties show much more restraint in the garden and do spread, but not aggressively. 

Anemone hupehensis, or ‘Pretty Lady Emily’ is one of my favorites. Its light pink double flowers held on wiry graceful stems look lovely when blooming in late summer and early fall. The anemone Pretty Lady series varieties are more compact, growing about 12 to 18 inches tall with each plant spreading around 2 feet in the garden. For more compact plants that spread slowly, choose an anemone from the Pretty Lady series. 

After a few years, when your anemones have filled in, it is time to dig and divide them. This is best done in late winter to early spring. Anemones look great when planted with hostas, and late winter is also an excellent time to dig and divide those. 

Anemones require little care when planted in their preferred location. Plant in moist soils in semishaded areas. Anemones don’t tolerant chronically dry soils and tolerate full sun only where the soil is consistently moist. They flower abundantly and make a great late season cut flower.

SHELLY NOLD is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207

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