Oriental poppies

In my garden I have grown oriental poppies for many years.  When they bloom, they look like giant brightly coloured saucers and the bees think all their birthdays have come at once.  

All photos by Toni Abram.

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My poppies were purchased from a garden centre as good sized plants, however you can buy poppy seeds.

I have orange and red poppies planted in my garden borders. Poppies can also be gown in pots, which will contain them and stop them from taking over the garden but they provide good ground cover and I have come to love the sight of poppies on mass.

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Oriental poppies bloom from early May onwards, they have delicate petals that up close look like tissue paper and prior to flowering they develop big fat flower buds that remind me of horse chestnuts. They don’t flower for that long and being tall they are vulnerable to wet and windy weather but if you cut them right down to the ground after flowering, they will grow back almost immediately and you can often have a second flowering later in the year. At this stage you can also dig sections of the plant up for planting elsewhere or give them away as small plants.

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Cutting poppies back does mean you will have an empty space in your borders for a while but they tend to look quite untidy after flowering, so it neatens things up. Plant your poppies at the back of  your border, with other plants in front and it will disguise the hole and any messiness.

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