End-of-Season Blow-Out

Yes, more poppies. (Previously: Pop Goes the World)

First, some later-flowering breadseed poppies. They are late for various reasons. Some are the last flowers on the bigger plants in the July crop. The dark purples had to fight with rhubarb and broccoli for sunlight. And the whites and lighter coloured forms popped up in a bed that was dug in June, old seeds waiting in the soil who knows how long.

Click on the pictures to see them full-size. And if you would like seed to grow your own poppies, please contact me using the form at the bottom of this post.

Baby of the family.

Grape jam poppy in the cabbage patch.

red-purple cup form papaver somniferum

Vivid colouring ina freshly popped flower.

deep purple

unusual (this year) pure white

purple lights

short-petalled near white (mauve) form packed with anthers

Paler coloured flowers are most striking in morning light, when they blaze like lanterns.

NIce light purple fringe form

Light purple cup form

Poppies can also be subtle.

Black-purple peoniflorum

Flames and shadows.

Late summer flowers, keeping the bees busy.

papaver somniferum sprouted seedling


opium poppy sprout


Two newly sprouted seedlings (too small for my camera to get a clear look at). The longer, thin leaves appear first. They look like little wings. There is not enough summer left for these ones to grow into plants, and they won’t survive the winter here in zone 3.


The next few are Iceland poppies, Papaver nudicaule. These are self-seeded. Properly biennials, a few will go on for an extra year or two. They are the first poppies to flower in the spring, and the plants continue to send up new blooms (dead-heading may encourage this) well into September. The original bright orange, yellow, and white forms (Lake Louise postcard classics) return every year, from new seedlings, along with mixed colour forms, usually white with an orange blush or brushstrokes of yellow. These are best seen in morning sun when newly opened and alive with bees.

Brilliant orange Iceland poppies

Morning glories.

In late summer, as the plants begin to tire, the stems grow a little shorter, the flowers a little smaller, but they keep on coming.


Seeds ripen quickly and spill from the pods when the the tall stems are blown around or fall over. New seedlings are barely noticeable in autumn, but when the snow melts in spring — there they are, surging into growth.

Now these are alpine poppies (Papaver alpinum). They flowered from seed in their first year. The whole plants are smaller and more compact than Iceland poppies, with delicate, downy foliage and dramatically large, floating flowers.

Alpine poppies – Papaver alpinum

Finally, we come to the Ladybird poppies, Papaver commutatum. I started these in seed trays, moved the little seedlings into pots for a couple weeks, and then, when about 10cm tall and wide, planted them into the garden — in a sunny spot but under a shade I had set up to shelter them from direct sun until they were settled in. These don’t self-seed (in my garden), and whenever I’ve tried direct-sowing, nothing’s come up. So they take some effort and they’re worth it. They like loose, deeply dug garden soil and room to spread out. Pinching out the first stem of buds promotes branching and a full season of the reddest red flowers.

My daughter took some of these pictures — the first five. You can see that her style with the camera is more considered, and more adventurous, than mine.






Poppies and dill, a great combination.

A day earlier, this big flower was inside a furry little bud.

More than just red and black, if you look close up.

Toning down the red lets the purple, green and gold stand out.

What happens when a poppy has less than favourable growing conditions (competition from onions and broccoli, in this case) — flowers are not only smaller, but also weakly coloured.


Promising pods

Flaming red

Thriving in the vegetable garden, with broccoli and dill

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One Response to End-of-Season Blow-Out

  1. Elizabeth Fike says:

    I am so glad I got some of your seeds! In looking at your pictures and seeing the saturated,rich colors,I remember why I bought some when I already had plenty poppy seeds. The pictures are beautiful, ( I see your daughter takes great photos too). I hope that my poppies will be as bright here in S CA. I have heard that cool temps and altitude can help, Thank you for a wonderful blog. I am learning so much that will help me to grow my seeds into beautiful plants, My husband just installed my first raised vegetable bed. I am going to plant a few in there and see if they are bigger and better with such perfect soil and drainage,

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