Monday, January 30, 2012

X is for Papaver

I could not come up with a reasonable article on "X".  I'd already written Xeriscope Me back in July 2009.  Nothing is as boring for a writer as revisiting a story unless I've totally forgotten and do a repeat and then it's not because it's that interesting, it's due to short term memory being buried with last year's bulbs...

Today, I'm going to expound on annual poppies because I've seen loads being advertised in paper and on-line catalogs.  If you've ever raised annual poppies, you know they are twice as beautiful in the garden.  No photo does them justice. 

Annual poppies are so fragile looking they look as if they are made of some expensive silk or by an expert pastry chief.  They aren't all that fragile and typically self seed easily. 

They need rich soil and full to partial sun.  Get them in the ground right after the last frost for the longest blooming season.  Deadhead some of the flowers to prolong bloom time.  If you want them to self seed, you'll have to let some go. 

There are very short and single petal varieties - such as the California types.  Others may grow to several foot, some are super double, most are fragrant.  They go into vases easily and take little care.  Some nurseries carry plant sets.  If you mulch, the tiny seeds must have light on the soil to sprout so either use the little seed starter containers or scrape away the mulch until the plant is a good 3 inches tall. 

Annual poppies are perfect for cottage gardens and look especially nice when taking little spaces between and around perennials.

These are not the same as the beautiful perennial poppies, although the blooms do have similar characteristics.  The perennial poppies have another set of planting and care criteria.

This photo of two-toned red and white poppy was taken from Annie's Annuals at

Take a look at your catalogs for a variety of these little beauties.  Add a sticky note for the ones that trip your trigger - or in a lame attempt to stay on task:  X will mark the spot!

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