I saw beautiful poppies in gardens this spring and summer and would like to grow some of my own. When and how do you plant them?
There are several types of poppies; some are perennials, some are cool-season annuals. A few of them can be grown from seed sown in the fall, so start planning now to have a garden of poppies next year. Here’s a short list of the possibilities, according to the editors of the Southern Living Garden Book:
Iceland poppy (Papaver nudicaule) is a short-lived perennial with cup-shaped blooms of yellow, orange, salmon, pink, white or cream. Sow seeds or set out transplants in the fall.
Oriental poppy (P. orientale) has large, crinkled blooms in scarlet, orange, pink, salmon or white that grow from bushy clumps of foliage. The blooms may be black at the base. Plant dormant roots in the fall.
Shirley poppy, or Flanders Field poppy (P. rhoeas) is an annual poppy with single or double flowers in white, pink, salmon, red, scarlet, lilac or blue. Sow in the fall by mixing seeds with an equal amount of sand and broadcast it where you want them to grow. Note: The Southern Living Garden Book says this is a “notorious self-sower,” which is usually a gentle way to say it could take over your garden whether you want it to or not.
Alpine poppy (P. alpinum) is a perennial that grows better in fast-draining, gritty soil. It has smaller flowers (1 ½ to 2 inches in white, yellow, orange or salmon. It, too, self-sows freely. Sow seeds in fall or early spring.
To plant poppy seeds, prepare the soil in a bed in full sun and simply scatter the seeds on top, or barely cover the seeds. Water the ground carefully, and kept the area moist throughout the fall.
Garden events in Middle Tennessee
Sept. 5:WarnerParkNatureCenter hosts Hummingbird Happy Hour, 4 – 6 p.m. at the WarnerParkNatureCenter. Bird banding demonstrations and other kid-friendly activities are on the agenda. Free admission, but registration is required; call 352-6299. While you’re there, visit the NatureCenter’s vegetable, herb and flower garden. Info: http://www.nashville.gov/parks/nature/wpnc.
Sept. 15: Urban Chicken Appreciation Day at Shelby Bottoms Nature Center, 10 – 11 a.m., celebrates feathered backyard friends. Learn how to get started in backyard chicken keeping in a session led by Bonnie Bowles. Call (862-8539) or email (email@example.com) to register.
Sept. 22 & 23: Many rare and unusual houseplants will be available at the Tennessee Gesneriad Society’s annual Flower Show and plant sale, which will be held at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. The event is open to the public 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Sunday. To learn more contact Julie Mavity-Hudson at Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sept. 29: Herb Society of Nashville’s Herb Day at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall: “Cooking & Gardening with Native Plants.” 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; admission is $40 plus Cheekwood gate fee. To register: www.herbsocietynashville.org.