Scarlet Harlot

The purple poppies are continuing to bloom in the south border; less urgently now, one or two flowers at a time alongside the nodding pepper-pots of their previous siblings.  And one or two of the later blooming poppies have thrown up a surprise.

Beautiful scarlet blooms, glowing in the sun.

I know that opium poppies can be rather fickle, cross-pollinating at the drop of the hat, and so I am not entirely surprised that not all the plants that grew from the seed I collected have come true to colour. In fact, I think I was more surprised that so many did come in the same deep purple as last year’s parent plant.

I love the splashes of red in this border, a colour I had rather missed since the red oriental poppy that I moved here shed its last flowers some weeks ago.

Who knows what colours we will see next year from the seeds I save from these beautiful plants?

I am not sure that there is a poppy in the world that would displease me, mind.

But these are something else entirely, especially backlit by the sun.

What a wonderful display.


11 thoughts on “Scarlet Harlot

  1. I wondered what I was going to see when I saw your post title! Even though they are short lived poppies are one of the joys of summer.

  2. We have the same problem with our poppies, you never quite know what colour you’re going to get next year! I’m loving the bright red of your though and such beautiful photos. Bethx

  3. I’ve noticed a couple of times that Monty Don marks favourite poppies with string so as to collect the seed from the ones he wants – and I’ve started to do the same too. But is he wrong and they are fickle cross pollinators? I do seem to have eradicated a pale pink double that I wasn’t too keen on by removing it before it could self seed. Now, I’m not so sure Sara – maybe that was just coincidence. Hmmm.

    Your photos are beautiful …


    • Thank you, Dave.

      Hmm indeed, that does ring bells. Does he not tie paper bags over the buds of poppies he wants to collect, to ensure that they open and self pollinate in the bag to retain purity? I’m pretty sure annual poppies cross-pollinate given half a chance – a quick google shows a few criticisms in the forums on MDs poppy-seed collecting for just that reason given how close he grows them…

      The red poppies have sprung up alongside one of the clumps of purple poppies that I pricked out from the seeds I raised… which definitely makes me suspicious. I shall try to collect seed from both red and purple this year, sow them separately and see what comes from each… though that will require being very organised, which may be a struggle :-).

  4. Thanks Sara, I suppose I could’ve googled that myself! Don’t remember him using paper bags but that means nothing – given my memory.

    I gave a friend some seed last year of what I thought would be a double pale mauve – I’ll need to ask her whether they came true – though that is sounding increasingly unlikely.

    I think being very organised is highly overrated!


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