Churchyard Nature Note with Andrew Tompsett

March 2017

Photos:  David Fenwick



Consider the Lilies of the Field’

The Bible teaches that excessive concern for day-to-day demands prevents us from attending to what God really wants from us. In the last Link note I referred to the birds of the air that it is suggested do not reap or store into barns.

This time we continue the allegorical theme with flowers of the field that ‘neither toil nor spin’ (Luke 12:27 and Matthew 6:28) yet they outshine even Solomon.

It is thought that the flowers of the field in the Holy Land are anemones. (Anemone coronaria), and often known as the florists’ anemone. Their brilliant coloured blooms are widespread in spring in the Middle East and, although they can be cultivated here, they do not grow wild.

Nevertheless, we have other kinds which are charming but not so striking, such as the white, wild Wood Anemone and the tall white or pale pink autumn-flowering Japanese anemone, commonly seen in gardens or on the Platt at Paynter’s Lane End.

The name Anemone is from the Greek for wind = anemos , (a word more frequently encountered as an anemometer, or wind recorder), hence anemones are also known as ‘wind flowers’. Those who have cultivated them will know that they do need shelter and, in the past, growers in Cornwall used wooden slatted screens to achieve the required microclimate.

Last autumn some excellent anemones were presented for sale at the Illogan country market and it is good to know that they are still being cultivated here as in the past. The Rosewarne Experimental Station (now Duchy College) studied all aspects of anemone growing and bred a new strain called St. Piran which was more winter hardy and produced some lovely colours. I know at least one member of our church who spent many hours bunching them. Today there is more enthusiasm for growing daffodils which picked in bud are more weather –proof. If you fancy growing some anemones try Anemone blanda which is a lovely spring flower and will generally survive for several years.

Andrew Tompsett




Photo:  David Fenwick

Japanese anemone