In recent weeks I’ve been noticing a wonderful amount of colour in our local roadsides and on waste ground. There’s one particular flower that has been the star on the July verges though and that’s the annual poppy. Both breadseed and native corn poppies self-seed very easily and one or two plants can result in huge swathes of joyful pinks and reds after just a few seasons if left to their own devices.
In many of my favourite roadside spots there has been a wonderful mix of rusticated garden poppies, wild poppies and hybrids of the two. They have created truly beautiful drifts of flowers with no input from humans whatsoever. There’s a pile of compost on the road between our village and Wicken Fen that must have been full of poppy seed. The display was truly breathtaking.
I love the idea that stunning little vergeside poppy gardens are being created by self-seeding in this way – the poppies have been indulging in a spot of guerrilla gardening of their own accord. It has been a thrill to spot them in recent weeks.
One of my little girls’ favourite pastimes is to collect poppy seedheads once they’re mature and scatter the seed around the garden. This year we’ve been travelling out to the local roadside poppy hotspots to collect some seed. We have planting plans for the contents of these little envelopes that I’ll be sharing next month.
Meanwhile the beautiful, sculptural seedheads, inspiration for artists, sculptors (and, of course, jewellers) for millennia, are definitely welcome amongst our garden posies.
Thanks for reading!
PS. At Sarah Raven there are a variety of poppy seeds to sow… including very pretty corn poppies ‘Falling in Love’ and ‘Mother of Pearl’, that are very delicate and pink, as well as large opium poppies (somniferum) ‘Black Beauty’ and ‘Cherry Glow’, which are very handsome and richly coloured.