Double Whammy at Our Doorstep!

Apr 29, 2012 | 3 comments

     Bright orange Chinese poppies pop up all over our garden in spring and summer.  We never know where they’ll show up next.  Thank goodness their lacy leaves are distinctive so we aren’t likely to mistake them for weeds – not that there is much threat to weeds in our garden, anyway.  But that’s ground I don’t want to go over again, so to speak.
     I wasn’t surprised, therefore, to see a new poppy ‘coming on’ at our very doorstep and I was delighted when its big bud burst into flower.  Delighted and amazed!  It is so luscious looking as to border on the obscene. It appears to be a double-blossom and, for our garden, that’s a first, at least in the Poppy Department.
     So, of course I Googled it.  “Double Blossom Chinese Poppy” I wrote, and there immediately appeared a Wikipedia site about Opium poppies.  Yes, I knew that connection.  What I didn’t know was that this ruffly pompom looking flower is “a sub-type of opium poppy whose flowers are highly double.”  I’m not exactly sure what “highly double” means.  I hope it means that we’ll get more of them.
     I also learned that it’s totally legal to grow opium poppies and to extract the seeds for use in cooking.  But not for medicinal purposes – for that you need a license and about a zillion poppies, apparently, because of the low levels of opiate contained in the seeds.  Well, I wasn’t really planning on any poppy-growing projects. I remember all too clearly what happened to Dorothy and her “Wizard of Oz” friends when they walked through that big field of poppies!
     I am totally content to wait for more poppy pop-ups in surprising garden spots. Presumably, they come in a variety of colors, so maybe that will be the next big surprise.  As long as their leaves are similar and I don’t go on some sort of unrestrained weeding binge, there is always hope.


  1. Nancy

    Wondering if the seeds are available at our local nursery or on the seed racks at the hardware store. I want to try to grow some! They are beautiful. Who was it who speculated that the beauty of the flower might save the world?

    • Kathleen Shaw

      Nancy, if Sydney is willing to live with it, the flower head will produce many, many seeds–as long as it isn’t dead-headed. I have a gorgeous dark red poppy that is actually very common, but some ladies walking in my neighborhood asked if I could save them some seed. I just chose one that was a little out of the way, as the seed head is a little unattractive when it finally dries and is ready for harvest! There’s no guarantees the seeds will be double, but isn’t that kind of fun?

    • sydney

      Nan, I think you will be up here at just the right time for harvesting some of those seeds! If they are ready earlier, I’ll save them for you!


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