Thursday, May 27, 2010

Poppies in the Garden – At Last!

My love affair with poppies began in 1977, when my Tante Helen introduced me Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Oriental Poppies – 1928.” The colors are so vibrant, yet there’s something restful about the way the flowers lean on each other.

When the movie “Room with a View” came out in 1986, a young couple’s first kiss occurs in a field of barley, “touched with crimson stains of poppies.” It was SO romantic! Then and there I decided that someday, I would have poppies in my garden.

I planted poppies from seed in the garden at my St. Paul house. I watched carefully for signs of germination and kept the area free from pesky weeds. I seemed to have been inundated by thistles, which I pulled, to allow my precious poppies to come up. But, alas, no poppies arrived. Imagine my surprise and embarrassment the following year when I saw a potted poppy at the nursery and immediately recognized my “thistle” from the year before. I hadn’t pulled weeds, I’d pulled up the plants! (Rookie mistake.)

I had a couple other missteps with poppies and thought I’d never have poppies in my garden. Then, toward the end of the growing season last year, I found a few tiny plants on sale for about a dollar each and decided, “what the heck.” I stuck them in the ground, and covered them with marsh hay for the winter. Apparently, that worked. They were among the first plants coming up this spring, and Monday, they started blooming! Beautiful.

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