Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fields of poppies, sort of

Well, it seemed like a good plan at the time: a field of poppies nodding their heads in the winter sun. It has sort-of worked, but not quite as planned. However, like most gardening projects it has been fun (and cheap!). One packet of poppy seed ($2) plus, at the last minute, one punnet of poppy seedlings ($3) to fill in some gaps.

Sowing the seed and raising seedlings was the best bit. Interestingly, the seed-grown plants are restricted to yellow, cream and orange colours. The punnet plants are where the reds come from. The labels on all just said 'Iceland poppies'. The seedling plants have thicker, more robust stems, too. But the seed-grown plants were much smaller than the seedlings when they all went in the ground, but the littlies then grew faster and flowered first.

Pictured here is the 'field' this morning, July 12. All the seed-grown poppies have spindly stems, and the seedling ones are thick and stout. For both types, the main trick seems to be to pinch out any developing flower stems while plants are small. Let the plants put all their energy into growing as plants. Then, when they get up to a good size, let them go.

Well, that's what I did and there are dozens that have come up already, many are in the house in vases, and it looks like there are several weeks' worth to come. The only bummer has been some strong winds which have belted the skinny stems into submission. But, like punch-drunk boxers they just get up off the floor and fight on. It's hard to beat an open poppy for a classic, pretty, simple flower, isn't it?

The other thing I like about poppies is the unopened flower heads. They always remind me of punk rockers about three weeks after they've shaved their heads. There's some stubbly growth there on their semi-bald heads. Looks like a flower bud with attitude.

Well, that's the poppy story this year. They'll flower on well into August, and by the time spring in September rolls around, I think I might be in the mood for a field of low-growing daisies stretching two or three metres into the distance. From our back door we look out to the north-east, so in the early morning the rising sun always catches that bed in the low light. It's the perfect place for some flowering colour, and this year's poppies have certainly set a nice standard for all the other flowers that follow to live up to.

1 comment:

Issa cruz said...

So pretty! Am growing poppies for the firstvtime this year. Sort of new to gardenng. Hope they grow as well as yours! Can' t wait for those flower buds with attitude... Cute!