07 June 2015

Skyscrapers of Poppies

The purple poppy towers are blooming. Papaver somniferum have transformed the front garden, with pop-up poppy skyscrapers sprouting randomly: tall, slender, and crowded together.

These are opium poppies, single flowering in a strong magenta. They are not really tall, but their habit of springing up all over and their slender appearance remind me of a skyscraper skyline. They are also not really good for making opium or heroin, since these do not produce the large seed pods that are needed. There are cultivars bred for that purpose.

Some internet sources identified something like these as "Hungarian Blue," but my skyscrapers are not as big, not as tall, and the poppy seeds are not blue (like the edible type found in the supermarket spice aisle.) I do not know their name, but they were yet another seed exchange acquisition three years ago. I am very happy with this pickup.

My skyscrapers were first planted in the 'mountainside' garden (the side yard slope) in autumn. They appeared in spring but were unimpressive, probably because the mountainside was still undergoing "soil improvement." Saving the seeds, they were sown in the front garden with more sun, great soil, and where other somniferum, pink bombast poppies [posted 2013.06.02] could chat with them.

poppies, dill, onions, beans all living together
As chaperone, I of course kept them separated out of caution to prevent any after-hours dalliance. I just did not know if double pink and single purple would produce some one-and-a-half breed. The purples bloomed better in the front yard, although were not as large as the bombasts. Seeds were again scattered last fall. As with all good gardeners, I forgot where things were planted, marker labels washed off, and frost/snow disrupted them.

The pink bombasts have managed to seed themselves into the sidewalk cracks, across the sidewalk, and over the asters and physostegia to the other side of the bed. They really got around (damn I thought I picked off all those seed pods last year.) After all this carousing by the pinks, the purples and pinks are blooming together nicely, and there has been no sign of illegitimates.

Some pink bombast poppies have hybridized with the other purple ones. A few purplish-pink single flower poppies have bloomed in the batch of pink ones, planted from seed taken from the pink ones. This is leading me to believe that the single flower trait is dominant, and that some of the purple fertilized the pinks last year to produce this new color.

The purples on the other hand, got spread around after tulips and dill were planted in the same spot - along with spring onions. So instead of a simple cluster, they have this haphazard appearance, like individual narrow skyscrapers, which is alright by me.

For The Record:
  • Good soil with organic amendments
  • Full sun
  • Small amount of fertilizer
  • No disease or pests

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: rudbeckia, phlox, poppy, geranium, datura,
    tradescantia, echinacea, eschscholzia
  • Harvested: lettuce, snow peas, green beans


Jean Campbell said...
Poppies are such a delight to grow. I always wonder how so many silken petals can be crammed into one little pod, like a magician pulling scarves out of his sleeve.
College Gardener said...
They are wonderful! And you are right, they seem a bit different from 'Hungarian Blue", with more pink in the color of the blooms.
Swimray said...
And such a tiny seed.

I thought as much.
Daniela Gardenerswithkids said...
The burgundy poppy is the very popular Lauren's Grape! I have it too in my garden since three years ago.