Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Japanese Anemone

Japenese Anemone provides a welcome area of colour in early August while I'm waiting for the Redbekia, Gladioli and Dahlias to bloom. This plant has been there a number of years and expands year after year. The brilliant white flowers with the yellow tinge at the centre are a nice contrast to the various blowsy summer colours, almost a hint of winter about it.

Despite being known as Japanese anemones, the three main species come from China.

The Japanese anemone's name comes from the Greek word for "wind," and some other anemone species are called wind flowers. The name windflower is accounted for in several ways, one of which is Pliny's statement that anemone blossoms are opened by the wind.

A rich legendary history has gained the anemone many names and attributes. It is said to have sprung from the blood of Adonis; Romans considered it valuable in preventing fever; it has been applied for bruises and freckles; for some it is tainted with evil; and by the Chinese it has been associated with death.

Some anemone poetry includes this poem by Emily Dickinson:

Summer for thee, grant I may be
When Summer days are flown!
Thy music still, when Whipporwill
And Oriole -- are done!

For thee to bloom, I'll skip the tomb
And row my blossoms o'er!
Pray gather me --
Anemone --
Thy flower -- forevermore!

This one Canada Anemone by Fleda Brown

And this most poignant poem by German poet Elisabeth Langgässer (1899-1951). The poem, Frühling 1946 (Spring 1946), is dedicated to her daughter Cordelia, who had miraculously survived Auschwitz. In the poem the poet is literally brought back from the realm of death (Reich der Kröte) by the flower Anemone. The translation is by Eavan Boland, and it's from: After Every War, Twentieth – Century Women Poets, Princeton University Press, Princeton & Oxford, 2004.


Honor Duff said...

Lovely photo of the white Anenomes, Michael. I wonder is it the one called "Honorine Joubert"? What a great amount of hitherto unknown information about this flower and its symbols. Many thanks. The German poem was indeed, heartrending but wonderful.

Michael Farry said...

Thanks Honor, Yes I think that's the one.

Honor Duff said...

I meant "anemone" - tricky one; sounds different when you say it aloud.

Apple said...

I love Japanese anemomes, they appear to me from a distance to be of white wax, with yellow stamens and I love the way they are late in blooming.