Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Succulents and Some Poppy Seeds

I put together a pot of succulents in shades of grey this year. The cuttings came from plants I had growing under fluorescent lights over the winter. I believe these are Escheveria, or some close relative. They are certainly not winter hardy, but you can grow as many plants as you want from tip cuttings or even from a single leaf stuck in some potting soil. Dear resident-lawnmower-man bought me this concrete pot this spring.

The gray plants and gray pot look rather modern and edgy, which is not really my usual garden theme, though it was unique. The only problem is that the pot has no hole in the bottom, so I have to tip it on its side every time it rains. I do keep it next to the house, where it gets little rain, but it still manages to collect some rainwater, which would otherwise drown the plants. Maybe it has a future life as an indoor pot or under the covered deck.

Thalictrum rochebrunianum 'Lavender Mist' (Meadow Rue) is finishing its blooming season. These tall hardy perennials do self-seed quite a bit, so this year I made a point of removing spent blooms. I let some seedlings grow at the back of the beds, but these narrow, 4 to 6-foot-tall plants just look silly at the front of the beds.


The annual poppies (Papaver rhoeas) are still flowering around the edges of the dense thicket of poppies that arose from the generous puddle of seeds left from last year's plants. RLM collected a jar of seeds from these, knowing all the requests we've had from friends and family who would also like to grow them!


On the other hand, the annual breadseed poppies (P. somniferum) are long finished, with their seeds pods just drying up now. I ripped most of them out before this stage, as they turn brown after flowering and don't offer any attractive features in the foliage department. Besides, they do self-seed over-generously. I leave just enough to produce a few plants for next year, and hopefully still get a few lemon-poppy seed loaves.

It seems that some folks in British Columbia like these flowers so much that they grew 3 acres of them in Chilliwack, BC and then got in some hot water with the law this past month. One gets the feeling that these aren't just overly-exuberant garden-bloggers hoping to create a beautiful sea of poppy flowers to admire and photograph. Or perhaps, they were planning on making LOTS of lemon poppy-seed loaves.

However, the part that really made me laugh was the television reporter's comment at the end of the piece, saying that "this operation demonstrates that it is actually possible to grow poppies in Canada", as if that was a feat never before known to any Canadian. It is an annual flower! You could probably even grow two crops a year in southwestern BC (which I suspect, as that crop wasn't even as mature as my own flowers up here in the north). Anyone who can grow a petunia or potted geranium could easily grow a poppy. I would guess this reporter probably hasn't ever owned a houseplant (you know THOSE kind of people...). Only time will tell if large-scale poppy-growing becomes a new craze among Canadians.

6 comments:

Rosey said...

Ha ha! I hate it when you look at a catalog and you see all the beautiful poppies and then they put a little note on the one poppy that is the prettiest saying " it is not for sale in the US". Okay. I am not going to be an opium dealer, I just want to grow a pretty poppy!

Drought Smart Plants said...

Your Echeveria is E. runyonii 'Topsy Turvy' and the little mauve one is probably one of the Graptopetalum. I love succulents - they have such amazing textures and colours.

The Garden Ms. S said...

Nice to see your Meadow Rue doing so well. I have been wanting to try it and since it is doing well for you I may just give it a try! Any tips? :)

Clayton said...

It seemed a quick season for the P. somniferum but it was furious or maybe I was too busy. I planted a number of sources last fall(bad timing on my part) and then of course it was too late and none of them survived to this summer. Other poppies are still blooming. Nice to see you still have a good show after the spring kill!

Karen said...

I had to laugh at your comments about the reporter. Yes, we all know of THOSE types of people, don't we?

Barbarapc said...

It is absolutely amazing what Canadians can accomplish when they put their minds to it. Do you suppose the reporter knows it snows in Afganistan? Remember reading an old article in a gardening mag, where the gardener - used to give her grandchildren the pods to chew on to quiet them before nap time. Some Grandmas are just more fun than others....