When it comes to cut flowers, the poppy may be the ‘Internet darling’ of the moment. Featured on hip wedding sites and lifestyle blogs, arranged in mason jars and in hand-tied bouquets at flower farms and appearing on stands at farmers’ markets, the poppy attracts the hip and stylish with their vintage, casual feel and beautiful colours.
Emerging as a front runner in floral trends, ‘Amazing Grey‘ open to reveal simply breath-taking blooms. Delicate, ruffled flowers with shimmering, papery petals appear in a range of unexpected blue-grey colour combinations; pearly grey, slate blue, misty mauve with the occasional flush of dusky pink. No garden will want to be without it.
Papaver rhoeas is the iconic annual poppy, very easy to cultivate, they are the easiest thing to establish, as long as you can provide light soil in full sun or light shade. Simply scatter the seeds thinly in spring or in autumn and gently rake them in.
Sown once the ground has begun to warm in late April, by June you will be blessed with the goose neck, prickly buds and shortly after, gorgeous pearl greys, pewter and mauve coloured, luminescent blooms.
Highly sought after, its elegant look is arresting both in the garden and for arrangements. A cult favourite of high-end florists who reserve ‘Amazing Grey’ for their finest design work.
Sowing: Direct sow in spring or in autumn.
Sow outdoors from spring to early summer or in the autumn for flowering the next season. staggered sowings through spring will extend the flowering season. Seeds are best sown directly where they are to flower in short drills 12mm (½in) deep at around 20°C (68°F). Cover lightly with soil, if sowing more than one annual in the same bed, mark the sowing areas with a ring of light coloured sand and label
Seeds germinate in less than two weeks. The seedlings will appear in rows approx 6 to 8 weeks after planting and can be told from nearby weed seedlings quite easily. Thin the seedlings out so they are finally 4 to 6 in apart by early summer.
Alternatively, leave them to grow as small clumps, of 4 to 6 plants every 30cm (12in) or so. Compost should be kept slightly moist, but not wet at all times.
Prefers well drained soil enriched with manure or compost ahead of planting. Feeding is rarely needed but water well if there are prolonged periods of drought.
Remove spent flowers to encourage prolific blooming. At the end of the season, if required, leave a few plants to die down and self seed. Others can be pulled up and composted
For Cut Flowers:
Cut when flowers are in bud, hold the base of the stems for a few seconds in a flame or boiling water, and the flowers will last several days in water.
Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower Borders and Beds, Wildflower meadows, Butterfly & Bee Gardens, Cut Flowers.
The origin of Papaver rhoeas is not known for certain. As with many such plants, the area of origin is often ascribed by Americans to Europe, and by northern Europeans to southern Europe. The European Garden Flora suggests that it is ‘Eurasia and North Africa’; in other words, the lands where agriculture has been practiced since the earliest times. It was probably introduced into Britain and Ireland along with agricultural crops at least as far back as the Late Bronze Age. It has had an old symbolism and association with agricultural fertility.
Common poppy is found on a wide range of soils but is most frequent on light, calcareous soils. It is a species of flowering plant in the poppy family, Papaveraceae and is pollinated by insects, particularly bumble bees.
The genus name Papaver is the classical Latin name for the poppy
The species name rhoeas is probably derived from the Latin word 'rho' meaning red.
Sir Cedric Morris (1889-1982), the artist who gardened at Benton End in Hadleigh, Suffolk, bred his own series of poppies in muted shades of grey, lilac and purple. Developed around 1910, and originally marketed as ‘Sir Cedric Morris’ they can now be found under the names of 'Mother of Pearl' and occasionally 'Fairy Wings'.
In some European countries this strain can also be found with the Dutch name of 'Parelmoer', the literal translation meaning 'pearl-shell'.
In 1980 Thompson & Morgan used the 'Mother of Pearl' strain to produce the fully double 'Angels Choir Mixed’ strain. It took 10 years to develop and select, and is marketed as 'Dawn Chorus' in some countries.
Since this time, the focus of breeders has been in developing the single colours. The first that made it to market was the white form 'Bridal Silk', then the burgundy 'Pandora' and now the wonderful 'Amazing Grey'.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 100mg Average Seed Count 900 Seeds Family Papaveraceae Genus Papaver Species rhoeas Cultivar Amazing Grey Other Language Names Parelmoer Hardiness Hardy Annual Hardy Hardy to -15°C (5°F). Flowers Gorgeous pearl greys, pewter and mauve coloured, luminescent blooms. Natural Flower Time Late spring to mid summer Height 60cm (24in) Position Full Sun Aspect West or South facing. Sheltered. Soil Well drained, Light. Time to Sow Direct sow from early spring or in autumn.