Good morning, and a very happy Tasha Tuesday to you!
These days in the garden I am thrilled to see a harvest of poppies coming up in a wildflower bed I created a couple of years ago. Two years ago this month, a tornado ripped through my little town, and it pulled down two very large and old trees in my yard. After the massive clean up (20 trailers full of debris!) I was left with a large hole in my lawn. So I encircled it with some stones and sowed plenty of hardy wildflower seeds— plants that could take the beating hot direct sun now that the trees were gone. I am happy to report that the little wildflower garden is growing beautifully in a riot of color from March to November. And I am MOST thrilled to report that after many of trying to grow poppies and failing— I have several mounds of the most glorious red poppies!
I honestly can’t remember which came first, my love of poppies or my interest in Tasha Tudor. I think that it must have been the poppies, because I have hazy memories of happy red poppies bobbing in my great-grandma’s garden, where I spent so much time as a very little girl. There is no doubt though that Tasha has inspired me in my pursuit of growing beautiful prairie style cottage gardens, and her poppies are a big part of her beautiful garden creations.
In her book “Tasha Tudor’s Garden”, Tovah Martin writes, “Tasha has selected her own personal mix of raspberry and peach sherbet shades from seeds saved since her mother’s garden, decades ago…If the poppies don’t come up with sufficient abandon, well then, Tasha keeps a special cache of seeds to sprinkle around. Heaven help anyone who dares pull up a poppy.” (Tasha Tudor’s Garden, page 78-79)
I am not exaggerating when I say that I have tried and failed for years to grow poppies. I’m not totally sure what my issue was, although I am wondering if the seedlings were often mistaken for weeds, as they look a lot like dandelions when they start to sprout. Evidently Tasha had much the same problem, which led to her banning visitors from helping her weed the garden!
“Long ago, she discovered that visitors should not be permitted to weed,” Martin wrote in Tasha Tudor’s Garden. “They invariably ravage the poppies and forget-me-nots unmercifully. Tasha must make that sort of decision herself, thank you.” (Tasha Tudor’s Garden p. 77)
I am of the mind now to be slow to weed things out of the garden unless I am absolutely certain what is growing is unwanted (like grass). So many little cottage garden flowers can sprout up looking a bit weedy, and need some time to grow before they start to identify themselves.
Although I am hardly an expert in growing poppies, I do know a few basic tips about them. I know that they are the sort of flower that is best to sow its seeds in the fall and let them over-winter to grow the next spring. I also know that they like lots of sun. As the sort of flower that can often grow wild in fields, it is not something that needs a lot of water and care once it is established, but is very hard to move once it’s in the ground. With the poppies I’ve grown in this garden, I noticed that the leaves came up last year, but they didn’t flower. I just let them be, and they’ve rewarded me this year with lots of blooms! Are poppies like hollyhocks in that regard? Where they only grow foliage the first year and flower the second? It seems to have been that way with my little patch of flowers, at least!
I’m not sure how Tasha would feel about my bright red poppies– but I love them! However, I would like to try to grow some of the pink and salmon shades she had in her Corgi Cottage garden. I tend to gravitate towards pinks and purples in my garden, but the flash of brilliant red in the mix is very eye catching and pretty.
Have you ever grown poppies? Do you have any tips? I’d love to hear any sage advice you may have, as I love these flowers so much and hope I can keep them up in my garden!
I hope you have a wonderful day, and that everything is growing beautifully in your garden. And of course I hope you–