Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: poppy

California Poppy – Escholtzia Californica 2018

I had no flowers from these seeds last year at all but I have persevered and scattered more seeds into the garden this year. I have sown both white and orange and am hoping for more success this time. 

Escholtzia californica was named after Dr Johann Friedrich Eschscholz, a Russian physician who was one of a party that discovered and described the plant in 1815 while exploring the Pacific coastline of what is now California. It would have been hard to miss, as great sheets of yellow and gold clothed the rocky hillsides. Technically a perennial but often grown as an annual, owing to its ability to go from seed to flower in a matter of weeks. A single plant can flower profusely over a long period before eventually setting seed and producing new flowering plants in the same season. These Poppies thrive in dry, gravely, well drained soil. Once established it will seed itself around. The most successful and cost effective way to grow the California poppy is by sowing directly into prepared gravelly ground during spring. Work your topsoil into a reasonably fine tilth before applying a 2″ thick layer of gritty sharp sand or pea gravel. The seed can be broadcast directly on to this free draining layer before being watered in. A succession of sowings from early April to May should result in a succession of plants over the Summer.

 

Californian Poppy – Eschscholzia Californica

Eschscholzia californica is a species of flowering plant in the Papaveraceae family and native to the United States and Mexico. It is an ornamental plant and it is used medicinally and in cooking. It became the official state flower of California in 1903. I love these graceful wild orange poppies. I had an abundance of them both in the garden and at the allotment but they seem to have vanished while my back was turned. This year I have bought seeds of both the orange King and the white, Ivory Castle, variety. I am planning to introduce both of them back into the garden in the hope that they will naturalise. I have scattered the seeds here and there around the garden.

 

Meconopsis Grandis – Himalayan Blue Poppy 2008

I have bought a few plants in the past of the Himalayan Blue Poppy but never had one survive in my garden. I have been doing a bit of research on the internet and have been amazed at how many cultivars, I think thats the right word, there are of this beautiful flower. Not being too hopeful and not wanting to spend too much on seeds I ordered Meconopsis Grandis from Alan Romans and have today sown them in moist compost, covered the tray in a polythene bag and sat it on the computer box. The seed pack had been sitting in the fridge for two days. My research brought forth much conflicting advice about how to raise these plants from seed and after looking at the pictures I am determined to get hold of some Meconopsis Bobby Masterton and Meconopsis Mrs Jebb as they look truly wonderful.

Bobby Masterton

Here are a few bits of advice I found. Store seed in a sealed container in a domestic fridge. Commercial seeds sometimes appear to be less viable than home-collected seeds. The type of compost used for seed germination is not too critical. A peat-based one is most usually used. An important feature is for it to have high air porosity. The incorporation of a lot of grit enabling minimum root damage when pricking out is also preferable. Sow seed in Dec – Feb onto the surface of moist compost in trays or plastic pots. Water the pots from below and avoid seed disturbance. Either leave uncovered, but more usually growers cover the seed with several mm of fine grit or a little sieved compost. Keep in a light place, usually a cool greenhouse. Sometimes pots are placed on a heated bench (around 15C), or out-of-doors. Never allow surface to dry out, especially after germination has taken place. Germination takes two weeks to several months, sometimes occurring in the second year. Damping-off can be a problem. Prick out seedlings at the two or three leaf-stage. Avoid damaging the stem, by handling the leaves only. Transfer gently to the same light compost, avoiding compaction. Keep in a shady place until growth has resumed. Keep the plants growing actively, and repot before the pots become root-bound. It is important not to let the plants suffer a check in growth. Transfer to larger pots or into the garden when large enough. Depending on climate this is summer, late summer-autumn or the following spring. You can see why I am confused.