All About Poppies | Discovery | Gardening Australia
To commemorate Remembrance Day, Jane shows us how to sow poppy seeds and then she visits some yarn-bombers who have been ‘sewing’ poppies of their own.
The Flanders poppy has long been a part of Remembrance Day, the ritual that marks the Armistice of 11 November 1918.
During the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium.
Flanders Poppies (Papaver rhoeas) are easily grown from seed if you want to grow your own field of poppies for Remembrance Day.
In temperate zones they are planted in autumn for spring flowering.
Prepare the bed by raking it thoroughly, then scatter the seeds and gently rake over.
Place seeds in a jar with sand or compost. Put the lid on and shake to mix. Remove the lid and sprinkle seeds over the prepared soil. This can really help when planting small seeds.
As with all plants, it’s important to make sure they’re not going to become an environmental weed in your area.
Common Name – Poppy
Summer, Winter, Spring
Principally from Eurasia and North America, with a few representatives scattered elsewhere, this genus includes around 50 species of annuals and perennials and is the type form for the poppy (Papaveraceae) family. Although they are a diverse lot, they are usually instantly recognizable, with their simple papery petals in vibrant colours held aloft on often hairy stems. It was Homer, the ninth-century BC Greek poet, who first associated the drooping poppy bud with the form of a dying soldier, and today we associate poppies with war remembrance days. The best-known poppy is probably Papaver rhoeas, or the Flanders poppy, which is worn on these occasions as a mark of respect.
Poppies form a basal rosette of toothed, often hairy, light green to grey-green leaves. Long stems, which are sometimes hairy, carry the often nodding buds, which open to the familiar flowers that are typically yellow, orange, or red, though garden forms occur in a wider colour range. The flowers most often have 4 crape-like petals around a central ovary topped with a prominent stigmatic disc. The blooming season ranges from late winter to mid-summer.
Poppies are mostly very hardy and easily grown, preferring a position in full sun with light, moist, and well-drained soil. These plants die down to a papery brown mound once the flowering season is over, and can be trimmed back to improve their appearance until they are ready to regrow. With the exception of fancy-flowered perennial cultivars, which are propagated by root cuttings, poppies are raised from seed.
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