Second Sunday in Advent 2013

This week involved some rather stormy weather, some baking (Christmas cookies), a sprinkling of snow and a visit to the Christmas market… I am definitely getting in the Christmas spirit now!

And you?

Each Advent Sunday I am posting a favourite flower to brighten these dark December days. The one I have chosen for today is a poppy, Papaver somniferum, which I saw in a botanical garden in the summer. Isn’t it gorgeous!


Since I haven’t actually grown this kind of poppy yet, I cannot say much about its habits, but I can say why I like it… I adore its brash frilliness; the pure untidiness of those silken petals is what appeals to me! And the colour of course, with the hint of purple at the heart of it and the pale yellowy-green “star” at the centre. I grow oriental poppies and they always bring such life into the rockery in May/June, so I am hoping that the Opium Poppy seeds Pauline ( generously sent me, along with some from a friend and some I managed to order from the UK (they must be considered illegal here in Germany! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), will all germinate and create a loud floral “WOW” in my garden next summer!

Have you ever grown Papaver somniferum?

Have a lovely week, and enjoy the run-up to Christmas!


44 thoughts on “Second Sunday in Advent 2013

  1. Yes i have grown a few different varieties of Papaver Somniferum. That looks to be a version of the “venus” type. Gorgeous flowers!! The only critical points I have found about growing them is, they must be sown directly. Their one hair like tap root is much to fine to bear transplanting unless it is a clump, and you cull most of them after transplanting the clump. They do grow best a foot apart. Though i always find it hard to part with any that might be crowding the rest, but it makes a significant difference in the size of the plants and flowerheads you end up with!! Plant them early as you can, till the end of may here in Ontario. Sometimes they overwinter in the ground and with that head start, are huge. Oh, and don’t sow them deep, they need a little sunlight to germinate, so they should be barely covered. Have fun!!!

    • That is all really useful information for a beginner like me Dan. Thank you very much indeed! These seeds are another reason to get impatient for spring. Thank you again and have a great week!

  2. Cathy, I’ve never seen such a poppy. It is magnificent for all the reasons you describe. She is frouzy and as merry as any flower I’ve ever seen! You almost expect to see her start doing the can-can at any moment! Have a lovely Christmas Cathy,

  3. That poppy is stunning! I had yellow and red poppies running amok through my garden at my first house and loved them! I hope you can get your seeds to work, poppies are such a happy flower! I love your Christmas candle, it’s so seasonal and pretty. What cookies are you making?

  4. Hope you have lots of poppies like this next year. Would you believe, we aren’t supposed to call them “opium poppies” any more, its a naughty word, they call them peony flowered poppies !!
    You are ahead of me with your Christmas decorations, I think I will wait another week before I start raiding the garden to decorate indoors, love your Christmas candle.

    • Oh dear – opium poppies is so much easier to say too! I haven’t been able to get hold of any seeds in Germany, but found an online shop in Austria that also sold weird incense sticks as well….. I ordered some from the UK though! I now have enough to hopefully produce a few plants… I’m not very good at keeping seedlings going when sown direct in the ground. Hope the slugs don’t like them.

  5. Hope that you enjoy growing those poppies Cathy and look forward to seeing photos when they are in flower next summer. I’ve grown papaver somniferum ‘Lauren’s Grape’ for a few years now. She is single and with deep plum flowers and most pretty. Excellent advice from Dan – they really do not take kindly to transplanting.

  6. A great reminder to get my poppy seeds out. I have a few sun spots down by the river and I feel like throwing caution to the wind and sprinkling seeds everywere. Love your garden mix in the glass compote–so festive–and perfect with its star-shaped dolly. Show us some cookies too!

    • Thank you Marian! If I get a chance I’ll post a cookie photo soon! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I shall wait until spring now to sow mine but that’s a lovely image of you scattering seeds on a sunny December day!

  7. Of course, they should be part of every garden, and I love the silkiness and most of all the seed pods. Check out Papaver somniferum Hen and chicken – quite cute ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I think I’ve heard of that one before. Yes, I love all seed pods, especially poppies and nigella, or in winter the Euonymous in the hedgerows. When I was a child we used to crush the field poppies in our fingers and I shall never forget that smell…

  8. Beautiful poppy and arrangement! Between this inspiration and Dan’s advice I think I can pull off a couple poppies next year, I’ve been holding on to a packet of seed for a while now and will give it a try…. the vegetable garden would probably be the best spot, I guess there will just have to be a few less cabbages next year ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I would definitely give poppies priority over cabbages! Look forward to comparing notes next spring, and I’m sure to need some tips too as my sowing anything in the ground rather than pots has not been terribly successful so far!

  9. I like your frilly poppy–the color is great. I have never had luck with growing them but much admire them and hope your seeds do well. Your arrangement is really nice–love the little star echoed appropriately by the star-shaped doily.

  10. Your Advent candle arrangement is beautiful, too. I haven’t grown a poppy quite like the one you’ve shared. It really is lovely. It’s nice to see summer colors. We aren’t bathed in snow, but the landscape is looking a little drab! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I love that frilly poppy – completely over the top! I have a dark purple opium that seeds itself about the garden and attracts lots of hoverflies. It’s got to the stage now where there are so many flowers, we’re just about self-sufficient in poppy seeds for bread making.

    • I hope mine also seed themselves! Good to hear the insects like them too. And the thought of having enough poppy seeds for bread making is encouraging!

  12. Thanks for the poppy picture Cathy. If your (future) experience is anything like mine, you won’t have to sow them again. They are one of the three plants (with verbascum and borage) that sow themselves everywhere in our garden. I always feel I have to apologise to them when I pull them out. Mine are the standard pale purple, not mad about the doubles, but the dark purple that Sarah mentions above sounds luscious! And thanks for getting me in the Christmas mood with the candle. Was feeling really un-Christmasy this Monday!

    • I am now very optimistic, as both borage and verbascum grow easily here too. Glad I have helped put you in more of a festive mood – thanks for visiting and have a good week!

  13. I love all kinds of poppies so I like your choice today. I’ve sown some Papaver somniferum this year so fingers crossed they’ll grow, I’m especially looking forward to the seed-heads.

    • That is what we call field poppies – I occasionally get one appear from nowhere here, and love them too. I’m not familiar with the Iceland ones, but the Californian ones (Eschscholzia californica) are pretty in shades of orange and yellow – I must look out for some seeds of those too. Yes, 2014 has been declared a poppy year for me!

  14. I’ve only grown the tiny alpine poppies in the past. Many people grow Iceland poppies here – and then they reseed everywhere. So pretty when planted in drifts, though. Papaver somniferum is a real beauty, I can see why you love it so!

  15. That’s a wondefully froo froo poppy, rather like one that suddenly popped up in my own garden this summer, much to my surprise. And possibly its, as it had been previously overwhelmed by shrubbery. I need to move mine to a better location and hope the seed sets ok. I am brand new to poppies other than the lovely Californian ones that I wouldn’t be without, and which self seed very easily.

    • I love surprises like that Janet! Two dwarf irises popped up in my garden last spring and surprised me. I will have to try Caliornian poppies again – they worked in my last garden, but I haven’t had any success here yet… I need more perseverance!

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