In the summer of 2010, I was thrilled when a beautiful dark purple poppy pushed its way up through the building rubble by the house.
I collected seeds carefully and sowed them the following year to plant out in the borders that we had begun to mark out, and that summer I enjoyed several lovely dark poppies weaving their way through their neighbours.
They were joined by several siblings resplendent in scarlet, another welcome addition to the borders.
By 2012, I had come to consider their ephemeral beauty a staple of our summer garden.
In this third year, there was a further break in colour, and frilly pink poppies joined the mix; frivolous but fun.
This mix of purple, scarlet and pink poppies returned in 2013. By this time I took them rather for granted, I must confess. They were springing up in the vegetable beds as well as the ornamental borders, each new bud unfurling its colours.
The autumn of 2013 was mild and wet, and I was startled, and fascinated, to see the standing poppy seedheads beginning to germinate in situ.
It didn’t occur to me that this unexpected early growth meant no seed falling to the ground to germinate the following spring, and it was an unpleasant discovery when no poppies popped through the borders last year. This spring, I rifled through my old seed packets, looking for the leftover seeds from previous abundant years, but to no avail. No poppy seeds to be found.
With a small thrill this summer, I spotted just a scant handful of poppy plants throughout the garden, which I have been watching with baited breath. The first two into bloom blazed scarlet.
I continued to monitor the buds on the remaining plants almost daily, until with a thrill I saw that the runt of the plants, a fairly statuesque single-budded plant displayed the dark purple form that I was hoping for, although with heavy rainfall smelting the petals I almost missed it.
One plant. One flower. One seed pod to watch closely, carefully; fervently hoping that the wind or rain don’t break the fragile stem before the seed has ripened and can be collected.
Of the remaining two plants, one has unfurled those flounces of pink.
The last still to reveal its colours holds a clutch of fat buds that tease me each morning…
Will this last plant reveal more of the prize purple petals that I am hoping for? It would be a relief to have more than one seed pod to try and catch…