In a temperate climate such as ours, it’s a fine line between easy-to-grow and noxious. Many a tender, coddled European import has gone rogue on our shores with devastating environmental effect. Gorse, I’m talking to you, but not just to you.
Indeed, you’d have to be a little cautious planting something experienced gardeners have described as ‘thuggish‘. When warnings blare that in order to remove a plant, you will have to dig up every fragment of root or face reinvasion, it’s wise to consider the impact of your planting decision in advance. I’d never knowlngly introduce ginger, tradescantia, asparagus ferm, or some forms of bamboo. I wouldn’t want to plant anything which features on the Council’s noxious or invasive plant list, and if my property bordered a wild or native area, I’d be even more concerned about ‘escapees’.
But a plant that is invasive to some is also rather ‘beguiling‘ to others, myself included. The Japanese anemone has much to recommend it: the vigorous rosette of leaves, the graceful stems reaching almost a metre in height, the delicate nodding flowers in pink or white and the perfectly round seedhead in bright kelly green. If it’s important to you to have ‘picking flowers’ in the garden for as many months of the year as possible, the Japanese anemone always seems to have flowers when others don’t.
It also has an interesting history. Although it was grown in Japanese gardens for centuries, it is Chinese in origin, “Hupehensis” from the Hupeh province in Eastern China. It was ‘discovered’ (as far as Europe is concerned) by an English plantsman in a graveyard in Shanghai and introduced to England in 1844. Gardening maven Beth Chatto was a fan. With its five sepalled form it forms part of the wider Ranunculaceae family which includes buttercups, delphinium and clematis.
As the Japanese Anemone has managed to behave itself reasonably in my garden, I’ll continue to grow it despite the horror stories. It knows it’s on notice.
Have you got a soft spot for a dodgy perennial?