Posts Tagged ‘anemone’


Sidewalk sadness

I walked by this narrow raised planter on E. 17th Street the other day and was shocked by the missed opportunity for creating curb appeal for the building. After all, first impressions go a long way! Needless to say, the scattered garbage, orphan Hostas and overgrown weeds aren’t doing any favors to define the value of this real estate.

It wouldn’t take much to spruce this planter up and give residents and passersby something to smile at. Check out some plant ideas below for easy ways to overhaul this planting.

Pieris japonica is a broadleaf evergreen shrub with dark green glossy leaves (bronze color when young) that produces white flowers in spring. It is relatively slow-growing but can reach a height of 6-8′ tall. A bonus is the flowers carry a sweet fragrance which can help mask various odors sometimes present on NYC streets.

Pieris japonica

Pieris japonica

Adding Euonymus alatus (common name: Burning Bush) which has bright red autumnal foliage, could increase visual interest and add a pop of color. Euonymus ‘Compactus’ may be a better suited cultivar for smaller sites since it does not grow as large as the straight species.


Euonymous alatus with Stunning Fall Color

Viburnum plicatum, commonly referred to as Doublefile Viburnum,  is a great shrub which can grow to 8-10′ tall. Deciduous, dark green leaves turn reddish-purple in the autumn while large white flowers cover the plant in late spring/early summer.


Viburnum plicatum with Spring Flowers

Utilize evergreens towards the back of the planter to add green year round and provide a solid foundation for the planting. Think Ilex, Taxus or Buxus. Junipers love sunnier locations and stand up to the abuse that sidewalks dish out.

Once the larger shrubs are in place, add some smaller perennials in the middle section such as: Anemone (spring flowers), Astilbe (blooms in summer/fall depending on cultivar), Spiraea (blooms in summer) and ferns (Ostrich and Painted Ferns are nice varieties) which leaf out in early summer.


Astilbe in Full Bloom

Don’t forget to leave some open pockets towards the front of the planting area for seasonal annuals. Spring bulbs such as Tulips, Daffodils or Snowdrops could be planted in the late Fall in the same area that the annuals are planted in. With a little sweat and a few tears (hopefully of joy) this planter could go from neglected to stunning in no time.

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The Strawberry-esque Flower of the Japanese Anemone.

I saw large groupings of this flower a week  ago in an established garden and they took my breath away.  Anemones are a clumping plant and they should be encouraged to do so because of their amazing impact, especially for the fall season while many other flowers are fading.

Mass Planting of Anemones

Available in shades of white and pink to a slight pinkish-purple, these flowers remind me of large strawberry flowers.  Double-petaled varieties are also grown commonly in nurseries. One of my favorite light pink varieties is “September Charm”.  The flowers and buds arch delicately over mounds of green foliage.  Another common name for this lovely flower is “Windflower”.  Anemones are excellent to use as cut flowers and add a graceful touch to bouquets.

Hardy in Zones 4-8, they are perfect for Northeastern gardens.  Plant en masse for a visual display that cannot be duplicated.  They prefer moist, well-drained, fertile soil and can be planted in either full sun or part shade.  The more shade, the less floriferous the plants.  Anemones stem from the buttercup family and are easily divided in the spring.  A height of 2-3′ with a width of 1.5′-2′ makes this plant good for either a front or middle plant in perennial beds.


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