My heart sank this past spring when I first noticed my nibbled pink Japanese anemones. Then experience reminded me to be patient. In this particular botanic situation, the timing of the deer’s munching was positive. It’s akin to the principle of pinching off the first buds on annuals to produce robust roots in a young plant.
Buds eventually emerged again on the stems of Eriocapitella hupehensis, commonly known as windflower. And if distracted by other food, the deer might leave the anemones alone to flower. Exactly when that would happen also depended upon weather conditions.
To encourage healthy roots, I mixed the ingredients of my favorite, never fail foliar spray. As windflowers are prone to propagate, the deer had disbudded every offspring I’d transplanted throughout my backyard gardens.
Therefore, roses, butterfly bushes, peonies, lupines, and other plants and shrubs neighboring windflowers received the benefit of a nutritious shower.
Then came two months of drought. I watered and watched for the promise of a bud on my dark pink anemones. Instead, a red “drifter” rose bush sprawling in my front yard perennial island never ceased blooming during growing season. Going on thirty years. I planted five. Two survived. One thrives. If only anemones grew thorns.
Early this summer I imagined cutting nosegays and bouquets of windflowers and roses throughout the fall. No matter how often I fed their foliage and roots, my rosebushes, even the hardy, prolific white and pink bushes in a boulder garden, floundered.
Be sure I whined about this when my daughter visited from California in August. Now, if you’ve ever visited San Francisco’s Japanese Garden and sipped tea with your grown child under the shelter of the outdoor teahouse, you might understand my disappointment.
For my heart desired to enjoy a cup of Earl Grey and lavender lemon currant scone with her under my wisteria-covered pergola – the Japanese anemones nodding amiably. Although the florets have no scent, “daughter of the wind,” as “anemone” translates in Greek, attracts the eye like a beautiful bird flitting by.
To my delight, buds swelled, and at last deep pink petals unfurled mid-September. Even the offspring now bloom. More to transplant come next spring.
And to my utmost surprise, as if for her grand finale, my favorite light pink rosebush planted in the lower garden grew a stem three feet long. Thirteen buds formed at the stem’s end. They now blossom in succession. With cooler days and nights, the petals remain vibrant for several days.
And the white and pink drifter have bloomed for two weeks! It’s as if all the roses and anemones conspired to produce this marvelous pageant.
Dear Reader, while I praise the color pink, I must mention the dusky blush of tall sedum outside my study window. After deadheading plants and removing invasive roots, vacancies in my front yard gardens cry for color.
Perfect sites for the “daughter of the winds” to nod prettily. To remind me to be patient when disappointed – the principle to feed their roots.
Contact Iris at firstname.lastname@example.org.