Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: poppy

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 – Hymalayan Blue Poppy

I have bought a few plants in the past of the Hymalayan 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.