Now that the crazy humidity has eased off, I could actually go out and look in the garden – to discover that, next door, M.’s blood red poppies have popped open. In June of last year, I obsessively photographed their every move. But just look at them. Who could blame me?
Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale) have to be one of gardening’s greatest extravagances.
I don’t mean that they’re expensive. Far from it, for the most part. However, they’re a long time coming. They tend to flop and often need staking. They last for about a second and a half. Then, when they’re finished blooming, the leaves turn yellow and tatty, and die back to leave a great gaping hole in a small garden.
Yet I mourn the loss of my salmon pink ones every summer, and get my vicarious poppy jollies through others.
On a walk through the neighbourhood a few days ago, we came across this great idea for a poppy prop in the garden of east-end garden design firm Petal Pushers (no website available). Looks like they might have recycled pussy willow twigs, minus the furry bits. Click on the picture for a larger view. Props to you, guys!
I have tried to replace my lost poppies. There is a pink Oriental poppy called Papaver ‘Helen Elizabeth’ – my name, coincidentally. I buy it whenever I find it at Humber Nurseries; it isn’t always available. And I’ve succeeded at killing it, every time.
Do one thing, and do it well, I say.