Anemones are spring flowers that connect three generations in my family. I always associate Anemone coronaria with my maternal grandmother. I remember that she had a much admired display around the edge of the lawn in her front garden. I can’t see Anemones in a garden or garden centre without thinking of her, although she passed away nearly 23 years ago.
Dig for Victory
My grandmother’s garden was both practical and pretty. I remember eating fresh peas straight out of the pod from her garden. It was a Dig for Victory garden during the Second World War. My Nan had to rely on my mother to keep it going for her during her later years. She loved to sit out in the garden amid her flowers. Neighbours would pause, admire the garden and chat to her from gate. The Coronavirus has brought social distancing, stockpiling, rationing and the Blitz mentality into social consciousness. It calls out for a return to some of the old values and customs of my grandmother’s time.
Anemone blanda, the Balkan Anemone or Grecian Windflower, thrives in a difficult spot in my mother’s garden. The beautiful blue hues surround the remainder of an old tree trunk. The Horse Chestnut had to come down a while ago due to Honey Fungus. It remains an issue in the soil. Anemone blanda seems to be the one plant that resists the fungus.
From Coronavirus to Climate Emergency
I used Honey Fungus as an allegory in an old blog about the Translation Industry. As we have learnt with both the Coronavirus and Climate Emergency, it is very difficult for scientists to get across the severity of a situation to politicians, policymakers and the public using just data and facts. People do not always understand without emotional appeal. They can react in a contrarian fashion to nanny state instructions and orders. There is a natural human tendency to resist change. As a project manager, I often noticed how it was easier to gain buy-in for major change from a dire situation. There is a tendency to try to water down measures otherwise, to find a half-way house and patch the situation temporarily. These approaches can prove costly as many feared this week. The Government’s delay in implementing stringent measures earlier could potentially cost thousands of additional lives unnecessarily.
I am struck by how my Struck by Honey Fungus blog written in February 2017 could apply to selfishness in the whole of world society. The unfortunate plight of the self-employed, gig economy workers, careworkers, foodbank users and homeless is highlighted now due to the impact of the Coronavirus on the world economy.
The Wood Anemone, Anemone nemorosa, is my plant. I share my grandmother and mother’s love of gardening. However, I am the only one who adores wild flowers (weeds to other family members). The Wood Anemone is one of my favourite springtime plants after Bluebells and Primroses. My interest lies in climate change and biodiversity.
The resilient Anemone is known as the Wind Flower. I am minded of Bob Dylan’s song lyrics for Blowing in the Wind:
And how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see – the answer
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the windBlowing in the Wind – Bob Dylan
Link to song
Looking the Other Way?
There have been far too many times in history when Man looked the other way. Coronavirus stands to have a huge effect on the world. The Red Poppy and Balkan Anemones conjure up wars in the mind. Coronavirus is impacting the world in a way that requires the implementation of wartime tactics. Already there are distracting side-arguments that Capitalism will return afterwards. Isms are dangerous. People end up clinging to ideology rather than implementing timely, effective solutions. Mankind has to urgently change its ways to save the planet. The financial world is an artificial, manmade construction. Coronavirus has given us a mere taste of the havoc that the Climate Emergency’s extreme winds and temperatures will wreak on our lives.
The love of Anemones crosses 3 generations in our family. I’d like to see many more generations enjoy Anemones and all the other thrills of our natural world. Nature can recover if we let it.
References and Further Reading
Harrison, John (2020): Dig for Victory – WW2 Home Front Growing and Food. Last accessed 22 March 2020.
World Health Organisation (2020): Coronavirus Disease 2019. Last accessed 22 March 2020