Posts Tagged ‘papaver’

Poppies for foliage and flowers

April 27th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Papaver somniferum 'Lauren's Grape'

There was a short time, about thirty years ago, when it looked as if growing ornamental opium poppies was going to be banned as it was thought people would buy seed in garden centres and grow heroin on their allotments! No.

It’s the same basic species but varieties developed for the garden – and to provide seeds for baking – are entirely different from those cultivated in Asia for legal (and illegal) drugs.

So, lest we forget, the increasing range of garden varieties of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, provides some of the most colourful of annuals you can buy.

From soon after they germinate, the plants are making their presence felt with their attractive blue-grey rosettes of glossy foliage. Then, from midsummer, the stiffly vertical stems are topped by large open flowers.

Those impressive flowers come in several forms: four-petaled single flowers, some with impressively frilled edges and some with black or white blotches at the base, and there are also frilly or peony-flowered double flowers.

The colours too range from soft pastel shades (‘Maanzaaad’), rich tones (‘Lauren’s Grape’, above), more vibrant colours (‘Victoria Cross’) and an appealing double flowered mixture (‘Peony Flowered Mix’).

Sow outside where you’d like them to flower, give them the usual hardy annual treatment but I find it often pays to wait until April to sow. Unless you dead head ruthlessly, you’ll have self sown seedlings next ear. And if you grow more than one colour, who knows what colours those self sown seedlings will provide.

Pastel poppies

April 20th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Poppy 'Falling in Love'

There are two main kinds of annual poppies. There are those derived from our native field or corn poppy, Papaver rhoeas, and those derived from the Asian opium poppy, P. somniferum. This week I’m taking a look at field poppies, next week opium poppies.

Papaver rhoeas is the scarlet annual poppy of our cornfields, although these days we only see it when the plough goes a little deeper and long buried dormant seeds come to the surface.

The first named variety was introduced after the Reverend Wilkes of Shirley in Surrey noticed a wild form with a white edge to the petals. From this plant he developed single- and double-flowered varieties in softer colours and without the black blotch at the base. These are still available as ‘Shirley Single Mixed’.

By the 1960s bright reds had crept back in so the Suffolk painter Cedric Morris developed a strain made up of soft misty and smoky shades, picotees and flowers with delicate veining. From these were developed ‘Dawn Chorus’ and ‘Falling in Love’, blends of doubles in softer shades.

There’s also the original wild corn poppy, ideal for annual meadows, and ‘American Legion’, with a white blotch on each petal.

Sow them all now, either by scattering the seed through your borders (some packets contain 2000 seeds, so you’ll have plenty!) or by sowing in patches or rows. You can also sow in the autumn, the flowers will start to open earlier than those of spring sown plants.

You can even cut them for a vase: dip the cut stems in boiling water for 20 seconds then arrange them in tepid water. They’ll last for ages.

Nation of Gardeners results: Papaver Place Pigalle

December 9th, 2013 | Nation of Gardeners, The flower garden | 0 Comments

Papaver Place PigallePapaver Place Pigalle is a hardy perennial papaver that has large white blooms, edged and picoted in salmon-red and grow to a height of 18″.  Flowers in late spring/early summer.

Our Nation of Gardeners were asked to plant a bare root variety of Papaver Place Pigalle in November 2013 to test raising these bare root perennials in exposed and sheltered situations over winter.  They were sent two plants – one for planting in the open ground and one for planting in a pot and protecting in a coldframe or greenhouse. Results from each method will be examined in Spring and Summer 2014.  The table below charts their progress.

Location Elevation Date planted Date first signs of growth Notes
Cheshire 49m 12 November 15 November 2cm growth as at 30/11/13 in both plants.
Renfrewshire 28m 9 November 16 November (ground plant) and 18 November (potted plant) Modest growth seen in both plants with ground plant establishing slightly earlier.
North Devon 30-50m 8 and 9 November 20 November Planted in pot on 8 November and in ground on 9 November.  The potted version is showing more growth by end of November.
Worcestershire 55m 10 November Planted both on same date. 17 November: Covered ground planted perennials with umbrella cloche due to severe weather warning.
Derbyshire 39m 10 November
Cumbria 90m 8 November Planted both on same date. Settled in well.
Ceredigion 131m 8 November Planted both on same date. In the open ground planted into partial sunny position. In pot, planted into sunny position.
Bristol 55m 9 and 11 November 9 December One planted into coldframe on 9 November and one into ground on 11 November.  9 December: Some new leaf growth.
Suffolk 6m 9 November 1 December Planted one into coldframe and one into garden.  By 1 December new leaf growth was observed on both plants.
Hertfordshire 150m 23 November
Surrey 58m
Pontypridd 157m 10 November 27 November (pot)
Buckinghamshire 66m 10 November
Guildford 56m
Gloucestershire 74m 5 November No sign of growth by late November
Wrexham/Flintshire
Derbyshire 241m 9 November 25 November (open ground); 1 December (coldframe) One planted in pot and put into coldframe with slug protection. One planted in open ground with slug protection. 16 November: both showing growth, the coldframe version is stronger.