Mark your calendar. Sometime in October/November, sprinkle some poppy seeds in your garden. Poppies do not like to be transplanted, so seeding is the way to go. Find a spot with at least 6 hours of sun and well-drained soil, as excessive winter moisture will cause them to rot. When the flowers start to bloom in the spring, extend the bloom period by picking the spent blossoms.
My favorite, that now reseeds each year, is the Bread Seed poppy. I love its crepe-like lavender petals and dried pods. I keep forgetting to use its seeds for baking – hopefully next spring. This year I will also sprinkle in some Lauren’s grape. The dark purple-violet blooms look very appealing to me.
The golden-orange flowers of the California poppy look great here in Texas as well. I will never forget how stunning they looked mixed in a bed of Homestead verbena at our old Colleyville store many years ago.
Growing up in Canada, it was a tradition to wear a “Remembrance” poppy in one’s lapel the last Friday of October until November 11 to commemorate fallen soldiers from past wars. So, this year I will find a spot to throw some Flanders Poppy or corn poppy seeds in remembrance. Everyone knows this one. Its bright red color is an international symbol. The story goes that during World War I (1914-1918), the battlefields in Flanders, Belgium were so compacted and devastated by the war, that the wild red poppies stopped growing. After the war was over, the fields began to bloom again. The flower was immortalized by John McCrae, a Canadian soldier and physician in his poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’.
I have lived in Texas for almost 40 years and just learned that Georgetown Texas is the “Red Poppy Capital of Texas” and celebrates with a festival each April. The story goes that a Henry Purl Compton who had served in the American Expeditionary Forces sent seeds to his mother right after World War 1. She planted them at her home, 507 East 7th Street. From there, they spread by birds, bees and people to have become part of Georgetown’s landscape.