We all know the poppies, Papaver rhoeas, whose bright red illuminates villages, wheat fields or battlefields. Other cousin species, annual or perennial, of the same family Papaveraceae also attract the attention of gardeners.
Came from the East
oriental papaver, native to the Middle East, Armenia, the Caucasus, Iran and Turkey, perennial, blooms again every year in late May, early June, in the same country. Known for its bright, even bright color palette, mostly red and orange, it also offers lighter shades like soft pink or salmon, white or darker shades like burgundy, purple, lilac or purple. Large corolla, – 8 to 15 cm in diameter -, simple, semi-double or double, about 60 to 90 cm high, at the end of thick, hairy stems which sometimes bend under the weight of tire. The buds with almost white hairs open showing strong bracts supporting large, smooth or folded petals, often stained with reddish, purple, or black spots. In the center, a globular nucleus of generally black stamens contrasts strongly.
Duration in time is not the strong point of oriental poppy. After flowering, by mid-July, its shrubby, fluffy foliage turns yellow before disappearing. Reappears in autumn as a mini-rosette which lasts throughout the winter and develops in February. It is true, it can leave gaps in the beds if not accompanied by more durable plants, which reach late in maturity and hide its fried leaves. There are many examples: lady’s coat, euphorbia, baby breath, herbaceous clematis, sweet perennial perennials, perennial asters or geraniums. Why not at the bar? A possible solution from the most natural.
It is very strong and growing is a children’s game as it adapts to all situations. Too alive, almost unbreakable and eternal; its strong, thick roots, the flesh plunges vertically into the ground. Moreover, as in dandelion, the smallest fragment of the root gives birth to a new plant. Sparing, does not need compost or manure, but appreciates ordinary, deep and well-drained soil. The summer drought does not scare him at all because in this season he comes to rest. A detail that matters these days.
Some nurseries are passionate about it and some have experimented with hybridizations between them oriental papaver AND Papaver bractaeatum. Especially in England in the Perry nursery near London, but also in Germany, in the Black Forest, in that of Countess von Zeppelin, the granddaughter of the inventor of the famous airplane, who since 1930 specialized in perennials, from irises to peonies to poppies. Today, poppies are becoming more sophisticated: the petals are fringed or square, double, two-colored or marked with a line of a different color. Some varieties to fix:
• ‘Mrs Perry’: pale pink;
• ‘Perry’s White’: white with a black heart;
• ‘Raspberry queen’: raspberry with well accentuated black dots,
• ‘Patty’s Plum’: with a very original crushed berry color;
• ‘Karine’, soft pink, with purple spots;
• ‘Curlilocks’ with red double flowers;
• ‘Pink Perfection’, old pink,
• ‘Forncett Summer’ with fringed petals.
Papaver somniferum also called garden or opium poppy is an annual plant which disappears in winter and reproduces abundantly to reappear next year and…. eternally. Cultivated since the dawn of time, it is native to Southern Europe and North Africa. white poppy, P.somniferum var. album is the true white-seeded opium poppy, the cultivation of which is reserved for the pharmaceutical industry for the production of morphine. Latex is extracted from this poppy to make opium. On the other hand, the botanical poppy with purple-blue flowers marked with purple, P. somniforum var. nigrumalso known as poppy, grows for its edible blue seeds, which are used in baking, roasting and for poppy seed oil.
In the gardens, the decorative forms of sleeping poppies with smaller capsules enchant us with their simple, fragile and generous beauty, in an intermediate time between spring and summer flowering. Its silhouette is proud, – about 1 above -, its leaf is glauous, glabrous and serrated, and its long stalks hold a single or double crown with pink petals, with some variations towards purple violet. When they have fallen, place the capsules which expand the decor and give glory to the dried bouquets.
A lover of the full sun and pure earth, never as beautiful as in the vegetable garden in the company of the nigel Damascus and the other cosmos, Papaver somniferum it is very easy to plant. In the gardens of the villa, the priest, the grandmother as well as in the most sophisticated or natural gardens, it always has its place. Beware of spontaneous planting because different varieties are crossed and often the offspring become as they were originally, plain, lilac pink, with a darker heart. To avoid this, the capsules should be removed before baking; they will not be distributed. Today, varieties offer different colors and shapes. Some have single flowers like ‘Cherry Glow’, ‘Sissinghurst White’ or ‘Single Purple’, others belong to the ‘Paeoniiflorum Group’, large and double peony pompoms, such as’ Frozen Salmon ‘,’ Antique flamande ‘or’ Black Peony ‘, with an impressive black color. Some have twisted or lacquered petals, such as ‘Fringend Red’ (Laciniatum Group). Silène Nursery offers a good selection of seeds.