Anemones are a flowering plant in the Ranunculaceae (more familiarly known as buttercup) family. Japanese Anemones are among the best late summer and early autumn border flowers, with tall upright stems that do not need any staking. The large wide open blooms mix well with most other late flowers, especially if allowed to spread gently among perennials and shrubs. In the Conservatory Garden they perform a vital aesthetic function by populating the rim of the South, or Secret, Garden and highlighting the late summer and early fall landscape with their brightly hued blooms. The Japanese Anemones insinuate themselves easily among the other July and August blooms, bringing a harmonic quality to the vibrantly colored array. It is easy to associate a certain Zen-like quality of inner calm to their restrained beauty.
Many of the species are favorite garden plants around the area; among the best known is Anemone coronaria, often called the Poppy Anemone, the flowers are of various colors, but the principal are scarlet, crimson, blue, purple and white. There are also double-flowered varieties, in which the stamens in the centre are replaced by a tuft of narrow petals. This is an old garden favorite, and of the double forms there are many types. The Japanese Anemone, however, is the preferred variety in Central Park.
The meaning of the name “Anemone” is “forsaken” or, more precisely “a dying hope”. The flower could also be used to signify anticipation. Considering that it forms such an important part of the late summer collection of flowers in Conservatory Garden we could also think of it as a harbinger of Autumn in New York. The Japanese Anemone leads us out of summer and into the crisp clear air of Fall – and another wonderful holiday season in New York City.
One of the hidden wonders of Central Park is the Conservatory Garden at Fifth Avenue and 105th St. A secluded oasis, just a few steps down from one of the City’s busiest thoroughfares; the garden offers a fragrant respite from the gasp and clatter of the urban afternoon.