Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In Praise of Poppies

If you haven't planted all the poppies your heart desires, it isn't too late. Sprinkle seed on the snow (or soft, bare ground) where you want them to grow.
Poppy pod ready for harvest
Poppy Pods

Breadseed/Opium/papaver somniferum:
I've read of someone claiming to have scraped seeds off a poppyseed roll and planted them. I would have thought that heat would destroy the potential to sprout, but that's what they claimed. These have huge, decorative pods and the seeds are edible.

Poppy Double Orange

Corn/Shirley/Flanders/papaver rhoeas:
Pretty red poppies, sometimes other shades, that bloom nearly the same time as p. somiferum, but have different leaves and blossoms. The seed pods are small as compared to p. somiferum.
Red Corn Poppy Riot

The California Poppy, eschscholzia californica:
California State flower, not just for West Coast gardens. Every year I appreciate them more. Some young seedlings lasted the whole hot, humid summer in my garden and are starting to grow now. New seedlings are coming up everywhere, as I have scattered the seeds with abandon. I have hopes of early bloom. Seed pods of California poppy are different than the others; they are long and thin. They explode, scattering seeds everywhere when dry.
Eschscholzia are a member of the papaver family.
From April 2008

Iceland/papaver nudicale:
You have to grow these to believe their beauty. I really began to appreciate them when I realized that my orange tulips lasted a few days and nearby Iceland poppies bloomed for a month, with a similar shape to the blooms and foliage that doesn't have to 'cure' for the next year. Just plant another packet of seed. Their petals are the most translucent and the colors are generally citrus shades and white. Really tiny seed pods.
tulips,papaver nudicale
Purple tulips and violas with orange and white Iceland poppies
papaver nudicale,tulips,violas


  1. I have sown some poppy seeds, and I still have many more to throw.

    We have a white poppy that grows wild here. It has rather large blooms, and blooms in late April/early May. (I think I have remembered that right.) I have never thought to gather any seeds from it, because usually when I am admiring them, I am hurtling down the road, intent on getting where I am supposed to be. But the white poppies are really beautiful. I will try to get some pictures this year.

    Thanks for sharing about the poppies.

  2. The first time I tried Poppies, I was not successful. Few of them germinated but never made it. Looking at your beauties urge me to give a go at them again. Beautiful flowers and the seedpods look lovely too

  3. The white poppies growing wild are likely Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri), a California native, and the largest poppy flower in the world. The plant is a perennial 6-8' tall, dormant in fall/winter, and flowering in late spring. In a garden, best to cut back to the ground in early winter to keep it looking good. Used for freeway landscaping in a few places, including Hwy 280 in Cupertino.

  4. I planted a couple orange poppies in my circle bed, but only one was alive in June, when we turned the circle into my new, larger bed. I didn't like where it was, and dug it up and gave it to my neighbor.

    Yours are so pretty, it makes me want to try some seeds in a different area.

    I am so happy the days are now getting longer!



I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

Google+ Followers