poppies, belatedly

Poppies appeared in my garden at the very end of spring, on the cusp of summer. These are the blackberry coloured goblets of the annual peony poppy ‘Lauren’s grape’.

Being a sucker for almost any flower as long as it’s that colour, I coveted these for years before stumbling across some in a nursery.

I also grow the perennial papaver orientale ‘Queen Alexander’.

Perhaps ill-advisedly since they come from the mountains in Turkey and prefer a colder winter than we get in Melbourne and sharper drainage than my clay-ridden front garden enjoys.

The huge salmon coloured flowers with their blackish purple eye are pretty impressive, but I like the fat furry flower buds and the protracted process of their bursting open to reveal the crepe paperish petals inside even more.

Sadly it would seem that Queen Alexandra is only happy enough in my garden to produce a single flower at a time. Here it is in its wider context. Everything was so fresh and green back then before the onslaught of the repeated heat waves we’ve had this summer…

In the back garden is a long suffering Californian tree poppy.

As a photographic subject it’s not much good for anything except close-ups of those exquisite white crepe paper flowers with their yolk-like boss of golden stamens. I have moved it once already and romneya coulteri notoriously resents transplanting. It’s desperately unhappy in its current spot – an admittedly hideous pocket of clay in the shadow of my Graham Thomas rose – and is probably doomed unless I move it again. If it survives its second move it should technically thrive in the baking hot patch of non-irrigated gravelly dirt just to the north of the shed door, currently occupied by a couple of languishing salvias which would definitely prefer more water and less sun.

The woody seed heads of ‘Lauren’s grape’ make beautiful little rattles which shower their tiny seeds everywhere when knocked.

I am saving them in a jar to shake over bare patches of earth around the garden in late winter. They come true from seed so more delicious grape coloured goblets will hopefully pop up in my garden next spring.