Sunday, May 17, 2009

Poppy Week

With all the rain the May flowers are in their prime. This week was poppy week. All kinds. They are so delicate looking, but tough little plants in reality. They self seed easily, and need no special pampering or conditions to colonize quickly.  

Poppies have captured the imagination of gardeners and artists for eternity. They have a narcotic effect, even in just gazing at the crepe blooms.

The California poppy has always been a favorite of mine.   Years ago, when I was discovering the Doctrine of Signatures I read that taking the flower essence of the California poppy works on the rods and cones of the eye and can assist one with the ability to see fairies.  

Now, the descriptions of it's healing qualities are associated with helping us to "find spirituality within our hearts and to develop an inner center of knowing versus seeking outside of ourselves for a false sense of higher or altered consciousness as through addictions or the lure of glamour. When you think of how and why the Gold Rush drew so many people to California, the razzle-dazzle of Hollywood, and the height of drug activity during the Haight Ashbury days, I think it is only fitting that the California Poppy be our state emblem, encouraging people to go within and seek out that “inner gold” that is of most value for ourselves and for humanity. Isn’t it lovely that our state flower provides the  medicine for people who are star-struck (I’m talking Britney not the Big Dipper!), into cults or fleeting fads to be able to strengthen and develop a solid inner life that leads to self-responsibility and quiet inner development? May we all truly appreciate the healing gifts of our lovely state flower, the California Poppy."

This little Iceland poppy color was new to me. I am not sure the camera got the color quite right. But it has scattered itself about Liza's garden here and there and was such a sweet little visitor for the week. 

Then, the Papaver somniferum were in full longtime favorites for two decades....

This is a low toxicity form of the opium poppy. I used to use this plant to train my new gardeners on how to research a plants medicinal qualities. They would find articles about making opium, and soon enough I would see carved X's in the  milky buds in our clients yards. I used to giggle as they loaded their cars with the harvested plants, only to report a few days later of a nauseous feeling and headaches as a result of their experiments. To me, these are definately not the poppies that grow in afghanistan, but they do have some potency, but not enough to cause dreams or visions by any stretch. Just a mild headache.

But it was fun and the young folk that worked with me learned to love to explore old herbals for information. 

Though,ignorance is bliss as far as this plant is concerned according to Michael Pollan
When I worked at Oatlands Plantation, Alfredo scattered these seeds everywhere and was our mothers day showstopper with thousands of poppy blooms exploding in the 4 acre garden. Originally they were orange in color, but I noticed a few lavender ones in the garden. Over the years I would pull out all the orange ones and eventually the Oatlands garden poppies were mostly lavender. Occasionally they morph into a double bloom. 

Like this one on the right. 

For a great article on growing baby greens Airynee has posted her tips for growing them on her wonderflul blog at Goodstone Farm.  I was going to post on all the wonderful baby greens I have been enjoying all month, but she beat me to it, and did a much better job! 

Next week....Peonies!   Enjoy!

No comments: