Friday, March 26, 2010
Papaver nudicale 'Garden Gnome'
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This oddball flower was part of a group of Icelandic Poppies we planted in the perennial border last spring. It was kind of an impulse buy and plant because the owner of the garden wanted a few Poppies. This type wouldn’t be my first choice because I just can’t seem to get them to last and sure enough after flowering they died. Even though it is sold as a perennial from now on they are being officially treated as annuals in our gardens. This particular flower made it all worthwhile as it was a curiosity and was fawned over.
After scouring the Internet for the reason that this flower had two colors on the different petals I drew a blank. There has to be a scientific reason for it but Google didn’t turn it up (could have been the search terms). It did yield this interesting article Color in Flowers by Dr. Leonard P. Perry, Extension Associate Professor at the University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science. It is the kind of thing that can sidetrack me when doing research for this blog.
Iceland Poppies are often used as mass planting in the fall and make a tremendously colorful carpet of reds, yellows and oranges. It can make a nice change from Pansies and Mums. They can be used early in the spring also and are often forced to bloom early. While they like full sun the heat of the summer often shuts them down completely. If you like the garden classic of the Poppy flower give these a try and I hope you have better luck than I have.