Summer Great Plants this Month

Papaver somniferum


opium poppy

The profusion of flowers and abundance of lush foliage in our midsummer garden has never been greater than this year. It could be something to do with its maturity, but I’m sure that weeks of rain have been the main factor.

So, as I wandered round, marvelling at the floral bounty, and wondering which plant I might choose to write about today, my eye was caught by this beautiful poppy, growing at the side of a path. I stopped and stared, I could so easily have missed this delicate flower, and I’m fairly sure that it won’t be there tomorrow morning, so fleeting is its life in bloom.

So, most of the strays in our garden are Papaver somniferum, or the opium poppy, recognisable by their glaucous blue-green foliage; they are a self-seeding, hardy annual and have been a presence in our garden for as long as I can remember. 

They just arrived, we certainly never sowed any seed, and with their myriad of colours, from white through pink, mauve, and all shades of purple to red, many with dark blotches at their bases, they give us as much pleasure as any cossetted, planned garden plant.

These poppies prefer an open, sunny position, but I find them growing almost everywhere except in deepest shade. Happily, their copious quantities of seed will ensure that, without any input from ourselves, we shall be surprised and delighted by their appearance again next year.

NB Louise has published a beautifully produced book of her plant profiles – A Plant for Each Week of the Year. It costs £9.99 inc P & P and is for sale in our online shop here.

More NB If you’d like a bit more gardening chitchat from the3growbags, please type your email address here and we’ll send you a new post every Saturday morning.

By the3growbags

We're three sisters who love gardening, plants and even the science of horticulture but we're not all experts. We'd love everyone even remotely interested in their gardens to be part of our blogsite.

2 replies on “Papaver somniferum”

Not a botanical/horticultural comment. Just to say best wishes to Caroline. Your lovely garden will be your healer! Gracex

Grace you are so right – there couldn’t be a better time of year to lift the spirits could there? The garden and countryside are just so beautiful right now. Thank you very much for your kind wishes, C xx

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