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Native plant purists exclude Japanese anemone from the garden, and they never get to see this:


Or this:


Or this:

I couldn’t stop taking pictures. It’s not only the flowers themselves with their child’s paper cut-out charm, it’s the way the autumn light highlights them so perfectly.

It’s the way they bloom in fall when most of the pink perennials are already spent, the way they need no deadheading, no pinching back, no tidying up. In spring and summer they put up nice rosettes of maple shaped leaves that grow low enough not to block the flowers behind them. Then, in fall, they go from ground-cover to superstar and continually send up small poppy-like blooms on cool little stalks that wave in the breeze, hence the name “windflower.” The bees and butterflies go crazy on their nectar. These plants grow a deep taproot and live a long time, slowly spreading into larger clumps only in need of division if you want to relocate them or limit their spread.

Though my garden ethic focuses on native plants, I’ll never be a purist. I’m really more of a taintist. Anemones make me happy. When I’m exhausted at the end of summer, all they need me to do is sit back and enjoy their beauty. They’re not invasive, so their only harm is they take up space that could be filled with natives, but really, is it sane to be a purist? Isn’t fundamentalism the road to madness? Isn’t the garden a place for tolerance and acceptance?

Yes, I think it is.