‘Wind­flow­ers, their beauty cap­tures ev­ery young dreamer ...’

The Borneo Post - - NATURE - By PU Chien colum­nists@the­bor­neo­post.com

I MUST con­fess that I was in­spired to write this week’s col­umn topic after I came across the 1970s Seals and Crofts song ‘Wind­flow­ers’ on a list of karaoke se­lec­tions re­cently.

Thanks to this song, I de­cided to look fur­ther into the mystery of such flow­ers. The lyrics of the song ac­tu­ally give some in­di­ca­tion about the unique char­ac­ter­is­tics of wind­flow­ers. Back­ground

This is a group of peren­ni­als with colour­ful poppy-like flow­ers that flut­ter in the breeze – that is why they are called wind­flow­ers.

There are sev­eral dis­tinct forms of wind­flow­ers. The anemone flow­ers orig­i­nated from mild tem­per­ate re­gions in the Mediter­ranean. Th­ese flow­ers form corms or bulbs that are used for new plant­ing beds or plant­ings in pots.

A com­mon species in the west is Anemone blanda, which is also known as win­ter wind­flower and sap­phire anemone. Th­ese low­grow­ing plants have fine tex­tured fo­liage that pair well with the pink, white or blue daisy-like flow­ers.

Anemone is a mem­ber of the fam­ily Ra­nun­cu­laceae, which in­cludes low-grow­ing tuber­ous plants and tall herba­ceous spec­i­mens. The flow­ers are soli­tary or borne in round clus­ters with a promi­nent cen­tral mass of sta­mens.

Th­ese flow­ers are saucer­shaped in shades of red, white, pas­tel blue and but­tery yel­low. There are sev­eral other species or va­ri­eties, as well as newer hy­brids avail­able.

Th­ese in­clude the var­i­ous hy­brids of Ja­panese anemones. Th­ese Ja­panese wind­flow­ers are herba­ceous peren­ni­als and a mem­ber of the but­ter­cup fam­ily. They re­main dor­mant in cold sea­sons and come alive anew in the spring­time. Th­ese are lovely ver­sa­tile plants that can be planted as gar­den borders or in gar­den beds.

Other va­ri­eties are the Anemone coro­naria, which is also called poppy anemone and Span­ish marigold. Th­ese flow­ers need cooler tem­per­a­tures, so lo­cally they would only be suit­able for the high­lands or in cli­mate con­trolled grow­ing ar­eas. Plant­ing tips Anemones are easy to han­dle for plant­ing. To be­gin with select the bulbs. This is a tiny tu­ber, but choos­ing the big­ger and fat­ter ones would be best best.

This is be­cause larger bulbs will end up pro­duc­ing big­ger flow­ers. If you’re buy­ing bulbs that are al­ready in a few inches deep of sand, wa­ter to keep them moist.

Around 10 days later, the roots and leaves should have sprouted so they are ready for plant­ing. In cases where you only have the corms, first soak the corms in wa­ter for around 10 hours be­fore plant­ing. This will make it easier for them to sprout. You should air them out be­fore plant­ing.

Next pre­pare the plant­ing medium by loos­en­ing the soil. Al­ter­na­tively, you can use a coarse grow­ing mix for pot plant­ing. Anemones need welldrained soil and can tol­er­ate drought con­di­tions. To pre­pare the grow­ing beds for plant­ing, add a gen­eral dose of com­post about three inches deep with basal dress­ing of or­ganic fer­tiliser.

Now plant the bulbs in the soil pre­pared with some leaf mould and com­post. Lay them just be­low the sur­face with­out wor­ry­ing about the di­rec­tion of the shoots or roots, as they will find the grav­i­ta­tional pull and au­to­mat­i­cally grow to­wards the sun.

Be sure to give them enough room – around three inches apart and three inches deep should do. Cover them with soil and wa­ter spar­ingly. Re­mem­ber th­ese corms are hardy and dry. Mulching is good for the medium to re­tain mois­ture.

Vege­ta­tive growth oc­curs soon after and you should add a mild liq­uid fer­tiliser when buds are form. It will take about 12 weeks to flower and should con­tinue to do so over a pe­riod of one month. When plant­ing in the right sit­u­a­tion, each corm can pro­duce 10 to 15 flow­ers at a time. Re­mem­ber the tu­ber un­der­ground can be saved for new plant­ings.

Plant care does vary dra­mat­i­cally among the var­i­ous species. The com­mon pests are cater­pil­lars, slugs, and flea bee­tles. Dis­eases in­clude downy mildew, stem smut and rust, be­sides leaf gall for­ma­tion by lar­vae on the leaves.

There are around 10 va­ri­eties of anemone flow­er­ing bulbs that are suit­able for warm cli­mates such as ours.

Do send me an email if you have any ques­tions, com­ments, or sug­ges­tions. Happy gar­den­ing.

Sap­phire anemone has blue daisy-like flow­ers.

Ja­panese anemones are a mem­ber of the but­ter­cup fam­ily.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.