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flowers a-z: a is for anemone

by SarahB

Hello everyone! I’m starting a new series from my little flower corner called “Flowers A–Z.” This series will highlight a different individual flower in each post, arranged alphabetically. I will offer a few facts about the flower, review some of its basic properties and demonstrate design ideas. I think it will be great fun and I hope you come along for this orderly (but always still a bit unruly) ride!

This week’s featured flower is the anemone. The anemone is in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. The name comes from the Greek word anemone, meaning “daughter of the wind,” or “windflower.” “Windflower” signifies the delicate, feathery petals and the idea that the same wind that blows the petals open will also, eventually, blow the dead petals away. It is also said in Greek mythology that the anemone is the flower that bloomed up from the spilled blood of Aphrodite’s lover, Adonis. Anemones come in shades of violet, pink, red and white and begin their early season in the fall. Although the peak season is late winter through early spring (when these bulb flowers are hearty and blossoming most beautifully), I jump at the chance to get them the minute they start appearing this time of year.

Anemones have incredibly delicate petals that are easily bruised or torn, so be gentle in handling them. The fuzzy centers are intricate and amazing but do contain pollen that can stain the petals.

Anemones begin their life closed tightly, with just a hint of their hue. As they unfurl, the prized center is revealed. The centers are typically black or green with yellow fringe. Anemones have a short life as a cut flower and they pop open quickly at room temperature, so expect a gorgeous 2 to 3 days when they will be at their most proud. Up next, we’ll talk about how to work with anemones in arrangements! Sarah

CLICK HERE for the rest of the post (along with tips for working with anemones and sample arrangements) after the jump!

Working with Anemones

As always, cut stems on an angle.

Notice the anemone stem is hollow and can buckle, crush or crack. Initially, the stems should be crisp and snappy to the touch.

As with all flowers or greens, clean thoroughly so that no foliage falls below the water line.

The look of the anemone, with its twisty stem and “hairy” neck is pretty wild. With the accompanying flowers or greens, you can play on this and go “wild” or you can feature the anemone’s unusual look by using a cleaner partner. With this first pairing, I went “wild.”

Here, I am using the wild look of geranium, which also smells wonderfully fresh!

I love this variegated geranium in the fall — I think it looks like oak leaves!

In this arrangement, the anemone are seated just above the bed of greens and are in various stages of opening, which adds to the visual interest.

For a “clean” pairing, try something like celosia (“brain flower”) pictured above. Look for a partner like this with a smooth landscape to use as a perch for the anemone.

Tuck the anemone between the clusters of celosia for a great mix of textures.

Another “wild” option above is to use simple spider mums. These are inexpensive, hearty and provide a shock of bushy, green petals. Notice with these arrangements that you only have to use a few anemone and one other flower or green as a pairing for a cost effective, yet sophisticated look.

So, welcome to early fall and the first preview of anemone! See you in two weeks when “B” will be for . . .

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  • This is a nice series! I love fresh flowers in my home, and I’m often curious about how to put things together. This is going to be helpful.

  • This is very nice. I’ve always wanted to learn more about flowers, specially now with a real backyard.
    Love the story behind the name.

  • what a great idea for a series of posts. I have tried similar series on my site (50 native plants from 50 states) — totally fun but sometimes a challenge to come up. the full alphabet….good luck , I am looking forward to the full list!

    • rochelle

      i love the 50 native plants idea- i’m going to check out your blog- that sounds like so much fun :)


    • hi monica!

      i’m happy to look into that- what sort of resources would you like specifically for flowers? like nurseries and bulb buying or more like gardening supplies?

      grace :)

  • Thank you!! Anemones are my favorite flower, such a treat to see them first thing in the morning.

  • This is wonderful! and the anemones are one of my favorite flowers – so much so i had white ones for our wedding! can’t wait to see the other 25!!!

  • Such a wonderful idea. Love the pictures and the tips on arranging are priceless. I’m gonna love this series. Thank You!

  • Love this! We use anemones in a few of our floral perfume blends that are handmade in Italy.. When mixed with Iris, white waterlily and Narcissus it makes for a spectacular scent.

  • Such a great idea for a series… can’t wait for B (Begonia, Bird of Paradise, bromeliad…). I think I would have a hard time limiting the choices down.

  • a listing of nurseries would be great. i live in Brooklyn and want to start making my own flower arrangements, so places that sell loose flowers, etc (other than sprout, which isn’t the most convenient place for me to get to) would be helpful

    • hi monica!

      i’ll try to work on this- it will end up being pretty regional so i’ll try to think of a good way to do it. it could get crazy long if i include every major city.


  • I LOVE THIS SERIES ALREADY! can’t wait for more!! this is a great idea. so awesome. I’m actually going to take notes. :)

  • Thanks so much for all the wonderful feedback, everybody! I love to post something that inspires and my hope is that this series will stir the flower passion in the budding designer inside you. Stay tuned and feel free to post more questions…

  • wow, just lovely – i will so look forward to this series every week! my flower passion is stirred already!!!

  • I love the idea of this column. Superb!

    Also, Grace, I noticed the exchange with Monica, and I would definitely like to see a column dedicated to regional nursery/floral guides. It would be amazing. If you ever decide to move forward in that direction, I think I speak for everyone when I say that we would love to see a call for submissions. I know that I’d certainly be excited at the chance of potentially lending a hand.

  • Can’t wait for the next one!! I’ll be on the lookout for anemones, thank you! It’s great to know which flowers are available in which seasons.

  • this is great… got an idea since i really love flowers a lot , hope for more features bout flowers… i will wait for that..thanks a lot!

  • great idea for a new series! If you can’t come up with common flower names for each letter of the alphabet, I’m sure scientific names could be substituted…

  • This is a wonderful idea. I would like to see this expanded to include what growing conditions the flower needs, including best regions.

  • Beautiful and informative post! There must be something in the air about A-Z lists, have you seen the Alphabet Project over at Hayes Valley Farm in SF? xoxo

  • I love the idea of the a-z series, thank you for sharing this and the ideas to make beautiful flower arrangements. I’ll be waiting for the next flower!!!

  • This is great as at the same time we are learning the names of the flowers too.
    Well done and I look forward to seeing some more