"See ! yon Anemones their leaves unfold, With rubies flaming, and with living gold."
Very little attention has been paid in this section of the country, to the cultivation of this most beautiful flower, from the fact, probably, that it will not stand our winters, unless planted in a frame, or otherwise protected. With this precaution, and some little attention, it will abundantly repay all the labor that may be bestowed upon it.
I have succeeded very well, in its cultivation, by keeping the roots out of ground until March, and then planting them in a bed prepared in the fall, that had been kept covered till the time of planting. The roots of Anemones are solid, flattened masses, like those of ginger, and, like them, are multiplied by divisions of the root.
The Anemone hortensis, or garden Anemone, is the species from which all the fine varieties of the florist's flowers originated. More than one hundred and fifty choice varieties are enumerated in some of the Dutch catalogues of the present day, classed as follows : - red, or blood color; rosy and white, flamed with purple; sky blue; purple or ash color; rosy, with green, and white, and agate. One hundred choicest varieties may be obtained for 50 francs, or about-$10.
A fine double Anemone should stand upon a strong, elastic, and erect stem, not less than nine inches high. The blossom, or corolla, should be at least two and a half inches in diameter. The outer petals, or guard leaves, should be substantial, well rounded, at first horizontally extended, and then turning a little upwards, so as to form a broad, shallow cup, the interior part of which should contain a great number of long, small petals, imbricating each other, and rather reverting from the centre of the blossom. There are a great number of small stamens intermixed with these petals, but they are short, and not easily discernible. The color should be clear and distinct when diversified in the same flower, or brilliant and striking if it consists only of one color, as blue, crimson, or scarlet, etc., in which case the bottom of the broad exterior petals is generally white; but the beauty and contrast are greatly increased when both the exterior and interior petals are regularly marked with alternate blue and white, or pink and white stripes, etc., which in the broad petals should not extend quite to the margin.
Propagation. - By dividing the roots for the fine sorts, and by seed for new varieties.
Soil and Situation. - The situation should be open, but not exposed to currents of air. As to the soil to grow them in, various are the composts prescribed by florists. They require a fresh, strong, rich, loamy soil. Hogg recommends fresh loam, with a considerable portion of rotten horse or cow dung. The bed should be dug eighteen inches deep, and filled with the rich compost, a little above the level of the walk; then lay a stratum of good rich mould, two inches deep, over the compost, on which to plant the roots, as the dung or very rich compost in contact with the roots would prove injurious rather than beneficial.
Planting. - After the bed is thus prepared, and has stood long enough to settle, the frame should be placed upon it. Fall planting is much the best, if the bed can be kept from very severe frost, or if not kept so warm as to start the foliage. Late fall or early spring planting is the best.
The roots should be planted in rows six inches apart, and the same distance from each other in the rows. A little care is necessary, in planting, to place the roots right-side up. By close examination, the eyes, from which the stems and flowers are to proceed, can be distinguished, which, of course, must be planted uppermost. After the roots are placed on the bed, they must be carefully covered two inches deep with good sound garden mould. This is the proper depth. When the bed is all completed, the surface should be three or four inches above the walk. They will be in flower in June, and, if shaded from the sun, will continue to display their beauties a long time.
Taking up the Roots. - When the foliage begins to turn brown and dry, the roots should be taken up and dried in the shade. When properly dried and kept from moisture, they may be kept out of ground two or three years without injury.