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(Paul Zammit (Toronto Botanical Garden))
(Paul Zammit (Toronto Botanical Garden))

Plant of the week: Anemone ‘Wild Swan ’ Add to ...


I usually avoid anemones of every stripe: Anemone canadense, for instance, is a native that runs rampant through and around every other plant, while A. japonica becomes outrageously huge, requiring a giant country garden to accommodate it. But here, finally, is a new enchantress. Anemone “Wild Swan” was much doted upon at the Chelsea Flower Show a few years ago and is finally showing up here. When people see it in bloom, they snap it up. It’s got the usual pure-white flower but this time with a subtle violet-blue band on the reverse giving a whole new look. Even on a still day it looks like it’s in motion. And of course it will grow in the shade. So this is an irresistible newbie with large nodding blooms that are held high above the familiar cut-leaf foliage.


The tag suggests planting it where it can make a big patch, so pay attention to that warning. It will grow to 50 by 55 centimetres in Zone 6, but plan for something a bit wider. Anemones do really well in rich clay soil and need lots of water until they are well established. It will take a fair whack of shade and, like all anemones, gleams in the gloom. Keep it deadheaded and it will continue to bloom all season.


This is not a plant for the faint of heart. It really is quite unusual and would make a wonderful cut flower. Growers promise it won’t re-seed and end up with a flock of something else. “Wild Swan” is a repeat bloomer, which is why you need to deadhead it. It looks amazing in a container and will no doubt become a necessity in a woodland garden.


Find it for $16.99 at commercial nurseries such as Fiesta Gardens in Toronto (www.fiestafarms.ca).

For more plant and garden information, visit www.marjorieharris.com.

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