The Homeowners Column

The Homeowners Column

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Perennial Plant of the Year for 2016 – Anemone x hybrid ‘Honorine Jobert’

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Sandra Mason
State Master Gardener Coordinator

Gardeners are always looking for prize winning plants. I love it when a winner has the tested tenacity to stand tall next to the younger whipper snappers. The 2016 Perennial Plant of the Year (POY) Anemone x hybrida 'Honorine Jobert' is just such a plant.

My fellow University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Martha Smith shares her thoughts about 'Honorine Jorbert'. "This white flowering lady comes with a long history of gracing fall landscapes since having been discovered in the garden of M. Jobert in Verdum France in 1858, states Smith. "At a time when new plant cultivars are introduced every season, 'Honorine Jobert' has been a fall highlight in European gardens since before the American Civil War and is still the most popular and highly sought after white anemone today. 'Honorine Jobert' surely earns the title "heirloom perennial" having remained a staple in the fall garden for 157 years." The Perennial Plant Association members nominate a slate of perennials every year and vote to select the Perennial Plant of the Year.

Anemone x hybrida, commonly called windflower or Japanese anemone, is a category that includes a large number of hybrid pink or white cultivars that bloom from later summer into fall. 'Honorine Jobert' is a vigorous, fibrous-rooted, Japanese hybrid cultivar with mounds of dark green leaves. As she typically grows to 3-4 feet tall the wiry flowering stems dance and sway in the wind, each one adorned with a pure white crown. The attractive trifoliate dark green leaves are a fabulous contrast to the flowers. Single 2-3" diameter flowers consist of pure white sepals that contrast beautifully with an attractive yellow staminate center. The flowers may not be as large as other fall blooming anemones but the plant is floriferous lightening up a shady corner. Expect blossoms August through September. 'Honorine Jobert' is hardy to USDA zones 4-8, has no serious pest or disease problems and deer seem to leave it alone.

This fall beauty grows best in organically rich, evenly moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade with protection from wind. Soils should not be allowed to dry out as foliage tends to burn in hot dry locations. Avoid wet, poorly drained soils, especially late winter. Japanese anemone may seem slow to establish, but, once comfortable can meander.

Fall is often a neglected season in many flower gardens as the colors of spring and summer are past. It's a welcome addition to have flowers fresh and new as others fade into fall. Our flower gardens would be better to take a lesson from the prairies with their late season explosions. Fall weather is great for growing perennials – warm days and cool nights. Roots are actively growing and water stress is low. The fall colors of our trees and shrubs offer fantastic backdrops to some of our favorite fall blooming perennial combinations.

Just like your favorite white shirt, 'Honorine Jobert' goes with everything! Try pairing with some of the grasses such as Little Bluestem and 'Northwind' Switchgrass (POY 2014) for height, and place 'Purple Dome' Aster in front. Another great combination for a shady spot would be Golden Hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' – POY 2009) to pick up color echoes from the yellow center of 'Honorine Jobert', and add the bright blue flowers of leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) with its later red fall colors for a great season extender!

"Try 'Honorine Jobert', suggests Smith, "a perennial that has truly stood the test of time adding beauty and elegance to our fall gardens.

Annual Gardening Seminar January 28, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. EST (5 p.m. - 8 p.m. CST) Beef House Restaurant Covington, IN sponsored by University of Illinois Extension and Purdue Extension. Registration $20, includes buffet dinner. Topics are Vegetable Gardening in Small Spaces and Edible Landscaping; Choices and Challenges

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