The Teddington Gardener

A swan? Me a swan? Ah, go on!

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Anemone Wild Swan

In flower from May to November, growing knee-high, and with refined foliage (more Anemone sylvestris than Anemone x hybrida), the standout feature of this relatively new introduction is the reverse of the otherwise pure white bloom – a three painted flashes of liac-purple. With flowers held above the foliage on wiry stems, a gentle breeze animates the whole show, blue, white and the pale lemon of the stamens. I bought three early in the summer for the Strawberry Hill garden I planted out – and bought three more today to put by for the new project in Kew. I’ll probably need more.

From the Elizabeth McGregor nursery website

http://www.elizabethmacgregornursery.co.uk/content.php?id=119

About 12 years ago, amongst a batch of Anemone seedlings, Elizabeth spotted a plant very with different character to the parent and showing real hybrid vigour. This was placed aside to grow on and watch. This young plant was delightful and has since proved to be the most beautiful and long flowering plant we grow.

Elegant white flowers, 7-9cm. across are held well above the attractive neat green foliage, each flower has lilac-blue bands on the reverse of the petals and at twilight closes to a nodding lilac-blue and white bell. Flowering is continuous from late May until November frosts.

In 2005, greatly encouraged by Roy Lancaster, we decided to try to release this plant to the wider horticultural world, and named it Anemone ‘Wild Swan’, but first it had to be propagated.

We have slowly increased the stock, but to produce large numbers tissue culture has proved to be necessary. This has been a long process with many setbacks but eventually we were ready to launch it. It was first shown at Chelsea Flower Show in May 2011 on Hardy’s exhibit, to great admiration, and our thanks to Rosy and Rob Hardy for showing it so well.

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ was awarded ‘Chelsea 2011 Plant of the Year’, a huge accolade and surprise and delight to us.

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The demand for the plant has been very high, we sold plants at ‘Gardening Scotland’ and ‘Tatton Park’ shows, each time we were mobbed and sold out on the first day. We are now selling it mail-order and on the nursery, available in half litre and one litre sizes.

Wild Swan should also start to be sold by other nurseries and garden centres during 2013.

Monrovia Nurseries have now introduced it in U.S.A. and in August 2013 it was awarded ‘Best of Show’ of all the new introductions at Farwest Show in Portland OR.

During the 12 years we have been growing the plant, we have found it very well behaved, it stays where you put it and does not invade its neighbours as can happen with Japanese Anemones. For continuous flowering it prefers a rich and fertile soil which does not become too dry. In the south, dappled shade would be a good environment

as the song goes………..”all through the winter time etc., etc.,”

Till a flock of swans spied him there and very soon agreed
You’re a very fine swan indeed!
A swan? Me a swan? Ah, go on!
And he said yes, you’re a swan
Take a look at yourself in the lake and you’ll see
And he looked, and he saw, and he said
I am a swan! Wheeeeeeee!
I’m not such an ugly duckling
No feathers all stubby and brown
For in fact these birds in so many words said
The best in town, the best, the best
The best in town
Not a quack, not a quack, not a waddle or a quack
But a glide and a whistle and a snowy white back
And a head so noble and high
Say who’s an ugly duckling?
Not I

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