Poppy Power

Poppy Power
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Poppy PowerBy Sue Neitzel

Fall is the ideal time to plan ahead and plant some perennials allowing them to take root and become strong spring favorites.

Poppies are perfect for fall planting and just between us, they prefer it. Poppies are carefree, early bloomers that add bursts of color and appeal to any flower bed.

My first poppy bed was more of an experiment than luck. I had purchased a bag of poppy seeds embedded in its own mulch and fertilzer, a 3 for 1 deal.

It was a new concept that many gardeners were taking a liking to so I had to try it and to my surprise, that first poppy bed was the most beautiful sight!

Rows and rows of bright red silk swaying in the wind had everyone stopping in to ask what kind of flowers I had growing in there! So now, fall is poppy time for me and hopefully for many others as well.

Poppies come in all sizes and colors, pleasing all who love flowers. An all time favorite is the sunny California poppy, an annual that herbalists use to treat many aliments, plus flower essences also. Their bright yellow blooms dance on delicate foliage, lending grace to any landscape theme.

The Shirley poppy, another annual (many annual poppies do reseed themselves) was developed in England in the 1800’s. This variety is one of the many popular ones.

The not so chilly Iceland poppy, native to sub arctic regions, warms any dull garden with shades of orange, rose, and cream.

Compact cousins such as Garden Grome and Wonderful Mixed are perfect tucked into a small space, these mini poppies would feel right at home in a fairy garden.

Taller perennial favorites like Red Sails or Meadow Pastels paint a picture all alone and can watch over the crowd below.

Royal relatives include the Prince of Orange, and the fair maiden pink; Queen Alexander, both bred for style and charm.

Crossing the continent, the Oriental poppies come in many sizes and shades. The Giant Oriental has huge flowers on up to 3 foot stems. Truly a big winner to any poppy fan.

Many other varieties will capture your attention once you catch the poppy fever. Garden Glory, double blooms of salmon and cream. Perry’s White, large maroon spots on white. Helen Elizabeth, a peachy southern bell with a deep center. Raspberry Queen, tempting and sweet. Indian Chief, the leader in reds. Patty’s Plum, double ruffles of purple passion. Little Dancing Girl, a shorter poppy that packs a punch!

The Opium poppy once banned for its narcotic qualities are still being used in breads and bakery goods without the side effects. And lastly, the true blue gem that once grew wild in Tibet, the Himalayan Blue poppy was first brought to Europe and then to the Pacific Northwest. A close cousin to the Blue poppy it’s larger in bloom but requires the same moist and acidic soil.

Whatever variety you choose to plant, poppies are picky, once established, they don’t tolerate being moved or change in growing conditions. Well worth the initial fuss.

So cast a spell over your landscape and plant a poppy bed and feel the power!

Image: Wikimedia.org

About the author:

Sue is a garden writer, passionate gardener, wife, mother and friend to Mother Earth. She is currently working on her website at www.thegratefulgardener.terrashare.com


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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