May 13, 2009

While the Gardener is Away, the Poppies Play

Do you ever worry about the blooms you'll miss if you go away on vacation? I've been obsessed with the Papaver paeoniflorum 'Venus' (Paeony Flowered Poppy) seeds sown in my cottage garden in October.

The day of our flight (nine days ago), there were large nodding buds on the poppies. I was afraid that I was going to miss the peak blooms. I even went out at 1:00 am this morning to see them before going to sleep - and that's after being awake for 24 hours straight for the trip home from Paris! I breathed a sigh of relief to see the display was still underway and then called my tired husband outside in the night to see the blooms.

So, did my much-anticipated poppies please me? The salmon color works well with the purple verbena and the purple annuals in my containers on the porch behind the grouping. The blooms are huge, full and fluffy!

I must say that the height startled me. I know that the description for these poppies said 30 inches high, but I wasn't prepared for these towers! Fortunately, the lanky verbena bonariensis spikes give the poppies some companionship. Even the other companion, agastache 'Purple Haze' (not in bloom), grew taller than expected. There was a lot of rain while we were away. Fortunately, the rain was falling on my garden in North Carolina and not on my vacation in Paris!

Story and photos by Freda Cameron
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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