Spotlight: Poppy24 September 2020 Sandra Ross
When we think poppy, most of us think of the crepe-papery Iceland poppy, but there are other lovely species to grow and pick!
Familiar from florist’s buckets, these are recognised by their hairy stems and flowers in tangerine, lemon, pink or white with four crinkled-silk petals.
This is an easy-care annual. Buy punnets in autumn and plant densely – at least 20 to a square metre. Pinch out the first few flower stems to allow the pant to reach 20cm across before flowering. Liquid feed monthly. Flowering will peak in September.
We are growing the improved strain called ‘Matilda’ (pictured). It’s a superior strain of Iceland poppy with extra large flowers, some double, on strong 50-60cm tall stems. It gives a mix of colours; white, pink, coral, red, yellow and all the shades between. Some have a picoted edge and some are bi-coloured.
It looks, as its name suggests, like a peony, with large fluffy flower heads, packed with petals; some are single. They come in mauve, pink, white and coral. We are growing Papaver paeoniflorum ‘Soft Lavender’ (Lambley) fully double mauve colour (pictured).
Peony poppies are best sown direct into the garden, in autumn. Choose a sunny spot, prepare the soil, make sure it is well-drained and fertilised. Add lime if your soil is acid. Remember Anzac Day to sow your poppies. After flowering don’t rush to cut the decorative seed heads, they will eventually open and release their seeds, ready for another year.
Where to Buy
To find out more about poppies read the article: Know Your Poppies.