Brrrr! By Jove, it’s bloody cold in our corner of SW Turkey. The wind is whistling in from ‘Siberia’ and the clear skies mean there was quite a frost last night up our little valley; it is not a day to be out and about. Generally, our winters here are mild and gentle which manifests itself as a long and colourful springtime.
Flowers abound with one particular species front and centre at this time – Anemone coronaria the Crown Anemone. Walking around the area, especially if you are using the maps and guide notes in ‘Okçular Village – a Guide’ and ‘Backways and Trackways’, is a feast for the eyes with great swathes of multi-coloured anemones wherever you look.
Crown Anemones are native to the Mediterranean region and have had a special place in the various cultures for thousands of years. The Sumerians (3000BCE) named them for their god, Nea’man; the Greeks for Adonis, who died of wounds whilst hunting wild boar and was transformed into a flower stained red by his blood. In Hebrew its name is ‘Calanit’ or ‘Kalanit’, and there is even a link to my old mob, the Parachute Regiment. As the British Mandate for Palestine wound down in bloodshed and ignominy, the Paras serving there were nicknamed ‘Kalaniyot’ for their red berets.
For me, the joy of this flower lies in its profusion and the staggering range of hues of varying intensity – from purple through to palest blue; from scarlet to palest pink to pure white.
There is also an ‘albino’ where even the stamen and stigma are white; these are not very common around here, although there are enough that I could guarantee to show you some in Kocadere Valley. That said, I’ve never seen any elsewhere.
a beautiful white anemone, compare it with the ‘albino’ below
So, ‘Why’, I hear you ask, ‘aren’t you well wrapped up and out there admiring these jewels?’ Because, dear reader, with a flowering period of over three months I can toast my toes by the fire, read a book or write a post and wait for this bitter north wind to blow itself out.
Then I shall wander around, find a warm, sun-dappled spot, and soak up one of the most beautiful and colourful sights in all of nature – countless wild, un-fiddled with ‘Jewel in the Crown Anemones’ set against the backdrop of Okçular’s Kocadere Valley.
Kocadere’s beautiful ‘albino’ Crown Anemone
naturally occurring double anemone
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü