Anemones blanda or Grecian windflowers produce charming daisy-type flowers above dark green basal foliage. Gradually carpeting the ground as they self-seed, these lovely varieties will provide early nectar to hungry pollinators in late winter. Perfect for the woodland garden, they will happily naturalise under trees and shrubs or in a mixed border alongside other early spring bulbs. Try mixing with narcissi and tulips.
Plant around 5 to 8 cm deep in humus-rich soil in full sun or partial shade — allowing around 100 corms per square meter. If the soil is very dry before planting, pre-soak tubers in tepid water for around four to six hours and dry before planting. Feed every couple of weeks with high potash feed; liquid seaweed is ideal as it is organic and comes from a sustainable source. In late summer/early autumn, provide a light mulch — avoid using manure or mushroom compost which is too rich but use garden soil or well-rotted compost instead. Lift and divide dense clumps after a few years to keep them flowering well.
Always unpack corms on arrival and store them in a cool place until ready to plant. Take care! Anemones are toxic and can be harmful to cats and dogs.
Potential problems, pests and diseases:
Caterpillars: these larvae feed on a wide range of plant material including roots, stems, foliage and flowers, causing both aesthetic and structural damage. Whenever possible, put on gardening gloves and remove by hand. Alternatively, cover susceptible plants with a layer of horticultural fleece to prevent any risks of infestation.
Eelworms: these microscopic pests navigate through plant tissues and feed on cells. Leaves turn yellow, distort and die back prematurely whilst growth may be stunted. Watch out for any signs of infestation and destroy any affected plant at first sight. Dispose of any deceased plant material and debris ahead of the growing season to prevent any risks of infestation.
Snails and slugs: these pests enjoy munching on young shoots, stems, leaves and flowers. Watch out for damage!
Leaf spots:these bacterial/fungal diseases can usually be seen as sooty growths or spots on the leaves — these will progressively turn brown with a yellow margin before eventually dying. Remove and dispose of any infected leaves.
Powdery mildews: these fungal diseases usually caused by planting in the shade or by poor air circulation can be seen in the form of white, powdery coating on the leaves. Cut off any infected material before disinfecting your scissors.