06 May 2012

California In Virginia

A month earlier than last year, the California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica) are blooming their pretty little butts off. These are the same that were planted from a free seed mixture last year and overwintered on the south side of the house in my protected micro climate. As reported earlier, these annuals can survive a winter if there is no severe ground freeze (as in last year's mild winter.)

There were yellow, orange, and creamy white last spring and grew about 6-inches tall (15 cm). The white ones disappeared this year, and the plants that overwintered are a bit taller at a foot (30 cm). There are also some interesting variations in the remaining oranges and yellows. Some yellows have an orange halo on the interiors. Some of the oranges have a deeper orange blush within the petals.

I like a plant that requires a second look. From a distance, my California Poppies are solid yellow and orange. Closer, the details in the color variations of petals are evident. Foliage is feathery blue-green. The seed pods are long tubular spikes, some evident in the photo.

They make a poor cut flower since they open in the sun, and close at night and on cloudy days. That's a bummer when trying to photograph them. Bright direct sunlight is too harsh and contrasty for plant photography.

I learned that these are native wildflowera to the Unites States, and have been introduced in Austrailia, Chilie, and Europe. In Chilie and the US, they can be behave like an invasive species.

They are drought-tolerant and do best in poor soil. That explains why they love my garden - in my clay without a lot of organic material. They like cool weather and disappeared during last year's summer.

For The Record:
  • Clay soil with good drainage on a slope
  • Full sun, south side of a brick house
  • No serious pests or disease

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: nicotiana, salvia, allium, calendula, bearded iris


Anonymous said...
Wow, these look amazing and I will try them. I never saw seeds for california poppies in the stores - did you buy them online.
Storage Sheds said...
I love the orange and yellow blooms! Perfect for the summer! ;)
Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...
Mine in the septic field didn't bloom.....boooo! Maybe some of this past week's rain will have some show up.
Swimray said...
The seeds were a free gift that came with my mail order. They were an expired packet, too.

Janet, Good luck with getting your seeds growing. Maybe you need to plant from expired seed packets, too.
Sharon@SproutsandWildlings said...
A photography note: since you said you didn't like shooting them in sun, you might like to try rigging up a diffuser using shade cloth or a white garbage bag (that is if you don't have a dedicated photographic diffuser). I like the orange poppies with the deeper color in the center.