The poppy has becomes a symbol of remembrance after the dreadful 1st World War, called the Great War, which to me sounds as glorifying war itself, and each year millions are sold in aid of our armed services which is the right thing to do. It’s vitally important that youngsters are taught the mistakes of yesteryear and that these do not repeat themselves. Each November there will be many remembrance gardens covered with these beautiful iconic flowers. All around you will see people, at work, at shops, at allotments where gardeners are tending their plot of garden, and quite often roads will become still at 11.00 when ‘we remember them’.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) asked us to think about the red poppy – the symbol of remembrance as the nation remembered. The field poppy will be forever associated with the trenches in Flanders after these beautiful flowers bloomed in the area called ‘The Western Front’. They are also associated with the Royal British Legion annual poppy appeal. This appeal raises money to support members of the armed forces from past through to present. Nowadays you will often see these growing on construction sites as the disturbed grounds is ideal for them to bloom.
According to the RHS these flowers were given a name in the Historia Plantarum of ancient Greek philosopher Theophrastus (what a mouth full – I think I will go down to my 12×9 garden shed in my garden to clear my brain). Those ancient Greeks certainly were busy. Many gardeners assume the poppy is a weed similar to others in the garden, but it’s a great source of pollen for foraging bumble and honey bees in the garden. These plants certainly brighten up the garden with their scarlet colours. Field poppies from the garden will last longer indoors in a vase if the bottom of the stems are sealed using a naked flame according to the RHS.
In California the poppy is the official state flower and you will see the gardens along the many highways covered with them as gardeners over there are enthusiastic about their garden displays. These poppies light up the garden with their huge flowers and bright colours, it can be said that this is a happy garden flower. With the exception of the legendary blue poppy there are quite easy to grow. You will find hundreds of tiny seeds inside the seed bodies which don’t need much encouraging to grow.
These are very easy to grow, all you need is to take a small amount of about 10 or 20 seeds and sparingly plant on the top of the soil. The poppies in your garden do need light to germinate so don’t plant them too deep. Cool weather is ideal for germinating, maybe about 55 degrees, so could flourish in the English gardens maybe in a shady area alongside your garden shed. I have a 12ft x 9ft shed and should be ideal. When the flowers fade their seed heads begin to rattle and this mean they are ripe for harvesting. When you open the pod have a bag handy to catch the seeds and then store in your garden building for the following year.