Fall flowers often burst forth golden hues, which is probably one reason I'm so fond of Japanese anemones (Anemone hupehensis). They are pink, sometimes white, and their airy appearance helps make a fall garden look more summer-like.
Besides having lovely flowers, there is appeal in the fact that they are as easy to grow as green beans. Most will tolerate everything from full sun to light shade, although they do perform best if they get shaded in the afternoon.
They're not fussy about the soil, either, although like most plants they do not like the cold, wet feet that result from heavy clay. They have few insect or disease problems, and four-legged pests tend to leave them alone. And they are not water hogs, either.
So why don't more people grow them? Although I don't have a certain answer to that question, I think there may be a variety of reasons. They don't bloom until fall, and some people give up on a new planting, thinking it won't bloom at all. But have patience — it will be worth the wait.
Another reason may be that there are a confusing number of types — some have tuberous roots, some fibrous, and they come in quite a variety of heights. Do a bit of research before buying so you get what you want.
Some gardeners pass over Japanese anemones because they have a reputation for spreading out of control. But that isn't the case if you don't overwater them. The tuberous variety will spread underground, like any tuber, and you have to keep them in check. One of the easiest ways to do that is to keep them a bit on the dry side once they have become established. I believe the fibrous type are more likely to spread, so I stay with the tuberous ones.
Plant them where they will not be subjected to autumn storms. While they may go down a bit in wind and rain, I find that they pop up again quite readily. Plant the tubers in April or May, and you will be delighted with the result. Should you need to divide them in the future, that is done in late spring, as well.
Like with irises, you may not get a showy display the first year, as they are getting established. But after that, as they wave their pink and white flowers in the fall breeze from late August through October, you'll be glad you have them.
Coming up: Learn how to capture the rain that will soon be upon us, and use it elsewhere in your garden. From 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26, staff members of the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District will teach about a range of methods, from constructing a rain barrel to large-scale rain harvesting. Held at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, 569 Hanley Road in Central Point, the class costs $5. Call 541-776-7371 to register.
It's not too early to circle Saturday, Nov. 2, on your calendar. That's the date of the 15th annual gardening symposium "Winter Dreams, Summer Gardens," sponsored by Jackson County Master Gardeners and held at the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center in Medford. At this all-day gardening event, participants choose four classes from the 40 offered and have the opportunity to rub shoulders with lots of gardeners, too. The cost for the full day is $40, including lunch. Call 541-776-7371 for registration materials.
Carol Oneal is a past president of the OSU Jackson County Master Gardeners Association. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.