The Poppy Anemone
This was a fine border flower, with its crimson or scarlet petals and black centres that closely resembled poppies. According to Hibberd, the anemones could be easily divided into two classes, the A. coronaria (from ‘the mysterious Levant’) and the A. hortensis, which were the star anemones. Both were garden flowers par excellence, and Hibberd believed no garden could have enough of them.
The poppy, or garland, anemone appears to have been introduced into England in 1596, with the varieties available to gardeners rapidly increasing over the following centuries. Seeds – purchased only from a first-class supplier, lest the unwary gardener was saddled with second class or corrupted seeds – could be easily grown.
The poppy anemone required a deep, rich loamy soil. If raised from seed, then the seeds should be planted into seed pans in February, using a light rich soil, which should then be placed on a gentle hotbed. As the warmer seasons advanced, the plants should have more air, allowing them to finish their growth in full exposure.
In September the roots were planted into beds of light rich loam in an open position … and then the Victorian gardener sat back and waited for the result. “It will gladden you in any case – it may even surprise you,” Hibberd said.
Once the leaves had died, the root should be lifted and stored in paper bags on in boxes with dry sand, and every year plant in September, and every year raise a fresh batch of seedlings.
Information and image taken from F. Edward Hulme and Shirley Hibberd, Familiar Garden Flowers (Cassell, Peter, Galpin and Co.: London: c. 1890), 5 vols.