Anemone coronaria 'Sylphide'
Anenome: Anemone coronaria. At the time of the Crusades, Bishop Umberto of Pisa, after blessing the soldiers before they embarked for the Holy Land, asked them to bring back soil from the Crusades as ballast instead of the usual seashore sand. This soil was spread in Pisa's Campo Sancta to honour the dead. The following spring, everyone was amazed to find a carpet of scarlet anemones; thus it was that they were called 'Blood Drops of Christ'. In the seventeenth century Maître Bachelieu, a Parisian florist, produced some extra large and colourful varieties which he refused to sell. However, a crafty Burgomaster from Antwerp was able to collect seeds by dropping his cloak at the appropriate moment while visiting the florist. He wasn't the first person to 'lift' something in a garden, nor, I'm sure the last! [Erica's notes]