Close-up of a violet-blue Anemone blanda flower.

Daughter of the Wind: Anemone Blanda

The common names for Anemone blanda are ‘Grecian windflower’ or ‘winter windflower’. ‘Why windflower?’, I wondered, as I dived into a little internet search. The reason for the name is unclear. Some suggest that it’s because it symbolises their fragility in the wind, while others say it’s because the flowers are opened by the wind.

Whatever the reason behind the name, it probably comes from a Greek word which translates as ‘daughter of the wind’. That translation appeals to me greatly. I can imagine it as the name for a graceful old-fashioned sailing ship or a sleek modern racing yacht. I suppose I’m not the only one to come up with that idea!

But sailing ships are taking us far from garden flowers. This daisy-like flower is currently flowering in odd corners of my garden, mostly where I’d forgotten planting it. (Actually, I think that its rhizomes sometimes get picked up and transferred with other plants as I divide and move them elsewhere. So eventually they could end up anywhere in the garden.)

A bee-fly enjoying an Anemone blanda flower

The anemone above has a visitor. It’s not a bee, though, but a bee-fly. Although it may look like a bee, you can see the difference in the long proboscis (tongue, used for feeding on nectar) and the long and very fragile-looking legs. Although the proboscis may look sharp and a bit scary, bee-flies don’t sting or bite. They just try to look as if they might!

Bee-flies aren’t good news for the nearby ground-nesting bumblebees, because bee-fly larvae eat the bumblebee larvae. Luckily it doesn’t seem to affect the overall number of bumblebees. (Just shows how much murder and mayhem is going on among the beasties that live in our gardens!)

I hope that some of the bumblebees will find these anemones too. Apparently bees prefer to work among a large patch of the same flowers, rather than going to lone individuals. This must be a great reason/excuse for growing more of all the early spring flowers, especially these delightful beauties. (Given time, they will spread, but I reckon I’d like to give them some help.)

Please note that I won’t be able to reply to comments until after Tuesday because of internet connection problems. But I’ll be back to chat to you after that!

Blue Anemone blanda flowers

30 thoughts on “Daughter of the Wind: Anemone Blanda

  1. Interesting info about bee-flies, I shall watch out for them. We have already seen several enormous bumblebees this spring, so nature appears to remain in balance despite the bee-flies’ best efforts πŸ™‚. Hope you get your internet connection sorted. Isn’t it scary how much we rely on it these days, and how much we miss it when there’s a problem.

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    1. It’s lovely to see those first bumblebees in spring. (The enormous ones will be the queens that have just come out of hibernation and are just starting off the whole new bumblebee year, so very special. πŸ™‚ ) I’m using DH’s phone as a temporary internet connection. We’d have big problems without it!

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  2. I’m now inspired to plant a bigger variety of spring flowers. We seem to be entertaining a few bees on sunny days on various flowering plants in the garden, but I would like to have as many bee hosting plants as possible throughout the seasons. I have seen evidence in NT gardens of how bees love a drift of the same flowers, it’s good sense I suppose as it saves a lot of flying energy. Lovely images as ever!
    Good luck with the internet…

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    1. Thanks Stephanie – we’re all fixed up and back on the net again – yay! I was watching bees in the garden yesterday and trying to see them clearly enough to try to identify the species…difficult! It would have probably been easier to photograph them and do an ID from that. Will head back out with the camera when it’s sunny again. πŸ™‚

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  3. People keep mentioning bee flies and I am sure I have never seen one, or if I did I didn’t recognise it. I shall keep my eyes open this year. Love the anemones. I have at times planted white ones and blue ones in pots and then lost them, though odd ones pop up now and then. I should buy more and plant them in the ground, they are so beautiful.

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    1. I think I get quite a few bee flies here, some seem very dark. At first I just thought they were odd-looking bees but you can see the difference if they’re still for long enough. (They do zoom around a lot!) I want to plant lots of white anemones on the other side of the garden. (Where I’m making the pond.) The whole area need re-doing and there are some very sunny areas there. They’re well-worth planting.

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  4. Hi Ann – It seems like you have a whole metropolitan botanical city there in your own backyard – how cool! That Bee-fly looks like a cross between a bee and a butterfly – really interesting! Of course love the pretty blue “windflowers” – sounds like you have survived winter and so have some of your plants!

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    1. I really don’t, Syd, but I do have a lot of bits of this and that – not good garden design though! I do try to find plants that I want to photograph, but some are annuals or short-lived, so I can change things around. The bee fly is like an odd-looking bee, but is really a fly that’s pretending to be a bee. πŸ™‚ I’m hoping that the spring weather is here to stay this time – there were a few wintry showers last week…brr!

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  5. Our ten-petal anemone looks just like yours, apart from having fewer ray flowers. Until this year, I’d usually see only white, but this year I came across a pale lavender, and one that was a fairly vibrant pink. I looked up your Anemone blanda, and found it present in only three of our states, and listed as an exotic in those. I found this really interesting article about them (and their cultivation) that might be of use to you.

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    1. We have a pink too, though I see it less often. (You can get mixed packs with the three colours here.) That’s a very useful article – and good to know that they do self-seed. (I like that site very much – lots of great info on the plants.) Interesting that your anemone is so similar but not the same. πŸ™‚

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      1. Can you imagine what it must be like to see great carpets of these anemones growing wild…mmm!

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  6. I think you are correct about bees, and most other pollinating insects for that matter, preferring patches of the same bloom. I see that in our gardens. As much as I like flowers, I’d be most excited by the bee fly. πŸ™‚

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      1. I’m just trying to remember what hot summer days are like – grey clouds here…but we do need some rain! (Meanwhile, I’ll dream of sunshine and blue seas.)

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