The Mystery of the Poppies

Are my titles starting to sound like they could be Nancy Drew Mysteries? Hmm. Never mind. A while ago I posted a story about our Accidental Poppy Garden. We’ve been enjoying this poppy garden for a few weeks now and actually gotten quite a few positive comments on it from people passing by, on their way to the park next to us. It’s nice to know that other people can appreciate the disarray of a surprise garden.

Each time we go out in the car or out for a walk we have been making our way through this bountiful poppiness and have glanced at them, maybe making a passing remark about how many different ones there were. But one day, we really looked at them. Really noticed them. And then we started to count just how many different types of poppies that had actually sprung up in our accidental garden. What we found was amazing, really, and just a bit mysterious.

We counted 11 different poppies! Ok some were just different colors but others were quite original. Now neither Bill and I know the exact names of plants and often get creative and give them our own names. Some were just subtle differences, like the color among the single petal ones. Others were what we had referred to as “double poppies” or “poms” as in pom poms, in that they were much like peonies or a rose with many petals. A few seemed to be a mixture of the single and double in that there was a ring of single flatter petals surrounding a nucleus of many petals packed in tightly curled pom poms. Bill called those Pom Combinations. One little poppy was a single petal pattern with a sawtooth edge, that sported a dark center, that he called Red Rag. Another was named Red Floppsy since it’s inner petals flopped. No, it’s too hard to explain them. Why not show the photos?

Nine of the eleven varieties that mysteriously appeared
Nine of the eleven varieties that mysteriously appeared

Which brings me to the mystery. Bill says when he went out to sow the seeds he only had about 4 or 5 poppy pods of seeds in his hand. How did we end up with so many varieties? Had some cross pollinated in the back garden? Where did the Purple Pom, as we called it, come from? Neither of us remember it from the back garden, which is where all the seed pods had originated. Had long forgotten seeds in the compost that we’d spread around gifted us with these other varieties? Who knows?

Curiousity caused us to investigate our poppy plethora. We looked them up and found that the proper names for what we were calling Poms were actually Peony Poppies. The other interesting thing I discovered is that our names are tame next to some. We found names like Drop Dead Gorgeous or White Cloud Peony or Heavenly Angels Peony or even Irish Cream Peony Poppies or the best, Prince of Orange. So from now on when it comes to creating names for plants, I’m going to have a lot more fun.

The only trouble is that now we know there are even more kinds of them out there and it’s going to be hard to resist trying out some others. Will there be room for anything but poppies if we allow this new poppy addiction to grow?

Which brings me to another quote I’m rather fond of, especially when faced with a box of chocolates or for that matter a web site full of irresistible poppy seeds.

“I can resist everything except temptation”. – Oscar Wilde

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2 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Poppies

  1. mary-lou says:

    But really, these are quietly stunning. I have always loved poppies, they are so ephemeral, those thin papery petals that can hold such colour, who/what could have come up with such beauty? And so fleeting, making it all that much more amazing…

    Okay, post call, thanks Helen for that great chat, like I said, who needs a “self-help” book when they can read these posts… they totally make my day :^)

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