September 29, 2009

Garden Inspiration: Poppies in Paris

For fields or gardens filled with poppies in the spring, sow seeds in autumn!

Annual poppies are easy to grow from seed. Last year, I sowed seeds in mid-October and had seedlings in December. In May, the poppies bloomed and created a nice display in my cottage garden. I played it safe last year and planted pink poppies.

After seeing the outrageous riot of orange, white and yellow poppies at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris this spring, I decided to go bolder and plant red this year.

The papaver rhoeas 'American Legion' were chosen to bloom along with my red salvia greggii in spring. With 8,000 seeds in the packet, I will plant around the red salvia in the butterfly garden and around the red salvia on each side of the garage path.

Last year, I mixed the tiny seeds with clean play sand (bought in a bag at the big box store) and put them in a spice shaker to try to distribute them evenly. With my best efforts, I still ended up with too many seeds too close together, but I gently transplanted quite a few of the poppy seedlings for better distribution.

Poppies will self-sow if you leave them in the garden when the seeds ripen. So, I will probably have a few emerge in the cottage garden and don't plan to sow more seeds there this year. I have very limited space in that garden, so the new poppies will have to go outside the fence. Poppies are deer and rabbit resistant.

If I only had enough clear ground, I would plant the orange, white and yellow combination in big swaths as seen in the gardens of Paris!

Words and photos by Freda Cameron; Location: Jardin des Plantes, Paris, France; May 2009
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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