Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Poppies rank high up, perhaps at the top, of my new list of garden favorites. Just like lavender and snapdragons, poppies grow extremely well in my yard. It has got to be the well-draining soil and sunny exposure.
This year, a California poppy plant overtook a lavender start I had planted in the front yard. The poppy plant grew and grew and got to be the largest poppy bush I have ever seen. It was at least three feet across and two feet tall. It was a giant. And I wasn't too disappointed it killed the lavender, after all, we have lavender coming out of our ears over here, so to speak.
And just within the last week, some arctic poppies bloomed and I see a whole bunch more buds getting ready to bloom. They started from seed from poppy plants I found growing over by the college. I used many of them in my papermaking. I always lose seeds off the surface of the finished paper so I collect them and toss them outside. In the fall I tossed a lot of different seeds in a blank spot right where the dryer vents out. The arctic poppies were one plant that took off there. It's so cool that one of the tiniest of the seeds I scattered, powder really, is what took off. The hollyhocks and lunaria are going great guns too, but I've grown them before so they aren't as exciting, or as pretty, in my opinion.
Arctic, or Icelandic poppies, are native to subarctic regions of North America and Europe and are a perennial, however as I learned today, they behave like annuals in areas with hot summers. It makes perfect sense. So, I'll be gathering seeds from them this year so we can have them again next year.
The trick with the arctic poppies is to sew the seeds where you want the plants to grow - they have sensitive roots so you can't ordinarily successfully transplant them unless you are a botanical transplant specialist, I suspect.
For some truly amazing close-up photos of poppies — to make you ooh and aaah and perhaps cultivate a love of botany — you simply have to visit this website: A Close-up View of the "Icelandic (Arctic Poppy) The photo of the poppy 'hatching from its coccoon' is my favorite.