Pop Idols

If this blog has shown anything, it is that primulas are best. But who are second-best? It’s poppies.

These double, or peony-flowered, Papaver somniferum are grown from commercial seed, whereas most of our poppies have been self-sowing in the garden for years or came from friends’ or neighbours’ gardens.

In flower math, a double is a flower with twice as many petals as a single, or more than twice as many. There is no triple or quadruple. These poppies with twenty times the petals are still doubles.

A flower that is more than single but less than fully double is called a semi-double. Semi means half. Half a double should be a single, right? Not in flower math.

A pink fringed single.

The near white and the light purple poppies, the first to bloom and the most common, are almost finished now. The last ones will be pulled in hope of limiting cross-pollination with the doubles and the better-coloured flowers.

I don’t always notice the bees until looking at the pictures later. Morning when the light is best on the newly open poppies is also when the bees are most frequent among them.

Bee incoming.

Bee income.

Except for the doubles, which were planted in a row, the poppies grow where they want to grow, wherever the seeds fell. These hot pink ones are under the apple tree in a bed re-dug last fall to hold candelabra primula seedlings and galanthus bulbs that did not come through the winter.

Papaver glaucum, the tulip poppy. The foliage is grey-green and cabbage-like, like P somniferum‘s, and the flower, red with black spots, resembles a ladybird poppy.

This is a ladybird poppy (Papaver commutatum) right before I nipped off the first bud to force the plant to produce sideshoots, which will result in a much bigger plant with more flowers. People who talk about “tall poppy syndrome” like it’s a bad thing have never grown poppies.

Last one: a rich red semi-fringed single.

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