Poppies are Popular With Me

This May was the first time I had genuine Poppies (Papaver) blooming in our garden.


I don’t know what kind they are. They were a gift from my friend Linc, and I planted them last fall. Last year I grew California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica) from seed. These, however, are not true Poppies, as they come from an entirely different genus. I didn’t plant any California Poppies this year, as their performance was a bit disappointing, and also their botanical name fails to meet my new rule on the minimum ratio of vowels to consonants.


Anyhow, Linc’s Poppies bloom in time to accompany the the blue flowers of ‘Kit Kat’ Catmint (Nepeta fassenii). And they are bright orange, a big plus in my book.


I love the bursts of vibrant color that they add to the daintier spring flowers, and also to the green of the larger plants bulking up and preparing to bloom in summer. In a sense Poppies carry on in the spirit of the tulips, who fade away as the Poppies open. The pointy, fuzzy leaves are endearing, as are the nodding flower buds that remind me of kiwis.


Linc’s Poppies (I think that will be their name from now on, at least in our garden) spread vigorously, and I look forward to seeing them fill in all the spots which have been bare up through June in the Driveway Border.

The only reservation I have about Poppies generally is that their bloom period seems to be fairly short. This year they seemed to come and go in less than two weeks, with the help of some big rainstorms. Of course, this is also true of some other flowers I love, such as the Crabapple blossoms.

Do you grow Poppies? What kind? Which are your favorites?

60 Comments on “Poppies are Popular With Me”

  1. We inherited the same kind of poppies when we bought our place eight years ago. I also do not know what kind they are. There are hundreds of them and more each year. They are stunning and have people stopping to take pictures. Would like to know the variety.

  2. I would grow these if I could even though their bloom time is short. They make a memorable statement in their short lives. I have tried to grow them many times and have yet to find a place in my garden that they like. They remind me of my Mom. She had a spot that she would have to pull them out to thin them.

  3. These are really pretty – quite delicate too. I love my big Papaver orientale, but the advantage of those you have is that there isn’t too much foliage so the gaps aren’t too big once they go over. I have not had any luck with the Californian ones in this garden. They grew like weeds in my last garden and were really lovely. We also have a few field poppies growing in our ‘lawn’. 🙂

  4. Aren’t they lovely! I sowed some poppy seeds for the first time and they are just blooming (red, like Flanders Fields) but I don’t remember the actual variety. Naming them for friends who ” pass along” is such a nice idea. I have “Nancy’s ferns” and “Jean’s peony” and so it should be!

  5. I love poppies, but I’ve never had good luck growing them here — they neither come back for a second year nor self-sow. I don’t know what it is about my conditions that makes them unhappy, but I’m resigned to just enjoying them in other people’s gardens — like yours.

  6. I have several poppies in my inherited garden. I don’t know what kind, but they are gorgeous. Even after their blooms fade, the foliage is interesting. I’m trying to grow some California poppies from seeds this year. We’ll see how they do.

  7. Love your vowel: consonants rule !
    Love poppies too, but I agree with you that the flowering period is far too short. You just have to appreciate them even more for that short time they are actually in bloom, I think. I have been growing some annual poppies which are a dusky pink, and are quite full and frilly – I saw them growing in some soil which had been dumped on a grass verge, so stopped the car and gathered some seed.

  8. Linc’s Poppies are lovely Jason and looks perfect in your garden – I grow Opium poppies here (Papaver somniferum) or they grow themselves, self seeders aka plants for free. Yours looks very similar to Papaver rhoeas – the poppy most known here as the Remembrance poppy.

  9. We have just come back from Italy, where I noticed poppies growing wild all over the place, including amongst ruins near Rome! I love the colour of poppies, but I think your LInc poppies are about the best I have seen. (something for me to try growing next year.)

  10. I have an orange one similar to this called Papaver rupifragum. It seeds everywhere and is so pretty. And of course the Oriental popies are wonderful, big and blowsy. They are over too soon and they flop, still I wouldn’ t be without them.
    Vowels to consonants in your plant names. Hmm. How do you stand on Paeonia mlokosewitschii? Lots of nice vowels in Paeonia, but mlokeswitschii?

  11. Ha ha, I love your rule for horticultural names. Californian poppies do have an odd one. I’ve raised some from seed this year and they’re doing well in our garden. So far… I love the foliage and the flower colour. Linc’s poppies look great with the purple/blue Nepeta and the purple alliums. It’s that winning colour combo again!

  12. I can’t get Californian poppies to grow here (notice that I’m avoiding trying to give it’s Latin name). We have Papaver rhoes and P. somniferum seeding all over. I’m not good at weeding them out because they really make a border sing – and I’m always worried they’ll give up on me completely if I’m too brutal with the seedlings. Your poppies are glorious! Thanks for sharing them -and well done Chloris for (probably) id-ing them.

      • The P. somniferum are often too tall, with very broad foliage that smothers other tiny things below them – the P. rhoes I have begun to leave because the foliage is much lighter (although they can often be monsters too!). The truth is that ALL my plants are choking other plants, so I have to be very selective with the self-sown things.

  13. I have never grown poppies, but this spring I have seen them growing in a couple of gardens, and they were glorious! So I am considering them. I love the bright orange of yours combined with the blue. Truly inspiring!

  14. Hello Jason, my personal favourite is the orange California Poppy, Eschscholzia. They’re incredibly vibrant but the only place in the garden they might thrive in is the gravel drive, the rest of the garden will be too rich and too wet for them, lord knows we’ve tried in many places and they just fail.

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