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Inspired planting: Blood and soil

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Leonie Cornelius

Leonie Cornelius

Leonie Cornelius

I can't remember the last time I allowed a red flower in my garden. Whenever a red poppy opens its petals, it's swiftly taken out, never quite feeling a part of the scheme. Then I came across the blood red anemone. This series of early bloomers, which I found at Homeland (homeland.ie), has a lovely mix of magentas and reds.

The perennial anemone, or Windflower as it is also known, is part of the Ranunculaceae family, native to eastern parts of the Mediterranean and Asia. The most common anemone we have here in Ireland is the anemone blanda, the delicate purple/white flowered spring bloomer.

The dramatic Mona Lisa series, which includes my blood red, is the result of 50 years of breeding and is particularly reliable.

It's said that the Romans used anemones to prevent fever and even 'cure' freckles. There's also a connection with the Greek myth of Adonis and Aphrodite. The end of the story sees Adonis lying mortally wounded after a hunting injury. Aphrodite, rushes to his side and turns drops of blood from her lover into wildflowers - the blood red anemone. Well, if that story doesn't give red a place in my border, nothing will!

Irish Independent