Gardening Advice on the Papaver Flower (Poppy)

The Papaver Flower or Poppy is a flower of nostalgia. A reminder of lost childhood and the fallen dead. The buds bow their heads and the delicate petals are short lived but the modern garden colours are so brightly coloured that the sad symbolism is lost. Some Irish landscapers might not even known about the symbolism and history of the poppy.

The flowers have long stalks. The single varieties are cup shaped with four wide overlapping petals. The double forms are ball like with many petals. All poppies have a dainty appearance but do not need stalking. Removing dead blooms, however, is necessary in order to prolong the flowering season.

Landscaper Tips – Varieties

The most popular annual Poppies with landscapers are descended from P.rhoeas, the Corn Poppy which growns wild in the Irish countryside. From this wild flower Rev. Wilks evolved the Shirley Poppy, which grows about 2eet high and is avaliable in both single and double forms. The usual colours are pink, white and red. A rather similar annual is P. commutatus or Ladybird. This bears black hearted crimson petals. If you are looking for an annual that is showy for your landscaping design the P. commutatumor Opium Poppy would do the trick. You can also choose the Paeony flower mixture for its double blooms.

Some Poppies are treated as biennials, sowing in summer and thinning the following spring. P.nudicaule is the favorite one for landscape designers in Ireland. The tissue paper petals have the widest range of all and they are excellent for cutting if you gather them when the flowers are in bud and sear the cut ends with a match. Typical varieties are Champagne Bubble, San Remo and Klmscott. The small P. alpinum or Alpine Poppy is also treated as a biennial. White, yellow or orange flowers are borne on hairless stems.

Landscaping Tips

1) Any good garden soil will do for the Poppy. It will thrive if you find a place in your garden design where you get a sun and light shade.

2) The Poppy can grow from 6 Inches to 3 Feet. The flowering period is from May to August.

3) All Poppies dislike being transplanted. With annual varieties sow seeds in April where they are to flower. With biennials sow seeds in August.

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