Home Plants I Love Listen Up Poppies: Time to Rise and Shine

Listen Up Poppies: Time to Rise and Shine


Livermere poppyFor most of May my garden flowers languished in bed, hunkered down and hitting the snooze button thanks to an endless month of unseasonably cool, wet days. With the first week of June delivering  temperatures a few degrees above 70, my plants are finally beginning to answer the wake-up calls. Ferns unfurl. Lilies tower. Snapdragons tease. The first act of a lengthy seasonal show is garnering rave reviews from  this head weeder, full-time waterer and constant admirer.

Hardy Gloxinia (Incarvillea delavayi) is hardly known, though once a hugely popular cottage garden perennial. Maybe it’s time you rediscover this stunning classic.

Lewisia cotyledon: This Pacific Northwest native is one of my favorite flowers, erupting each spring with parasols of shockingly bright (and bossy) pinks, oranges, golds and yellows.

Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale ‘Beauty of Livermere’) : If flowers are showgirls, then the Oriental poppies are strippers, uh make that burlesque performers. Bold, cheeky, in-your-face, these posies demand your attention every step of the way, from buds to flowers to seed heads. And the above variety, Beauty of Livermere, dresses (and undresses) in the reddest of reds.

Siberian Iris (variety unknown): As the name might suggest, this plant is as tough as nails and can take cold winters, hot summers, periods of drought and general neglect. It creates a lovely drift of blossoms and the leaves look good all summer and into fall.

Omphalodes verna: Creeping forget-me-not is a charming ground cover that sports sky blue blossoms in spring and gently spreads without overtaking the flower bed.

Madame Alfred Carriere Rose: This heirloom rose (noisette) is one of my favorites, and while I eat it up visually, the deer take a more literal approach. After the first flush of blooms, I’ll be transplanting this fragrant beauty behind the deer fence so she can establish permanent roots and rambling growth, protected from a herd of antlered overeaters.

Stay tuned; dahlias, zinnia, lilies and hollyhocks are preparing to take the stage.


  1. Tom,

    Your oriental poppy flower looks incredibly beautiful. The do require lots of attention!

    Red and purple/blue what a great combo of colors. Reminds me of those elegant and colorful Asian robes made of silk.


    • Heguiberto, Oriental Poppies are perennial and so easy to grow. Much like bulb flowers, they leaf out, bloom and then die back mid summer and remain dormant the rest of the year, only to reappear next spring. They do like soil with good drainage. Love your analogy, so well put.

  2. Beautiful Tom! I have the same poppies but in Salmon…still not open – can’t wait! The Gloxinia is stunning – I have not seen that kind before – absolutely lovely.

  3. Gorgeous, absolutely amazing. I love them all – of course the poppy because it’s so “showy” and the rose is stunning, but the iris…talk about bring back memories. When I was growing up, my father put an ice rink in behind the barn and it became as if by magic, a field of what we called “flags” every spring. This in Northern Ontario, Canada after a winter of ice, snow and cold really was one of nature’s miracles. I wonder if the flags still blooming.

  4. So beautiful, one and all. Personally, it’s the bearded iris that makes me blush, they wave about like madames in silk robes loosely tied. Just yesteday one whispered to me as I walked to school.

    Beautiful Tom – beautiful

  5. wouldn’t it be great to tune into the radio or a podcast and hear Tom telling us about “Dan the Man” or describing his beautiful flowers or his latest escapade? Tom, give the people what they want.

  6. I can’t see or think about poppies without thinking of the scene from The Wizard of Oz and uttering “poppiesssss” in the voice of the Wicked Witch of the West. LOL, but true. Gorgeous photos, Tom. 🙂


  7. This has been my year to fall in love with Poppies…all varieties and colors. Not that I have any…I don’t. But now that there is a greenhouse in my life, I can always hope and plant some seeds for next year. Beautiful photos, Tom. Thanks for sharing…

  8. Tom:
    I had beautiful Oriental poppy buds. Tons on a plant that were waiting to unfurl and show their beauty. And then Lo and behold, all of then they were GONE..Something ate them. I found one bud half chewed through. No idea what did this but all I have now I bud stalks.. 🙁 Any idea what this might be? Field mouse perhaps….Small enough to balance on the stalks?

  9. Anupa, I feel your pain, I just had a fig tree denuded of figs by some evil lock-picking deer.

    It may be a squirrel, as this thread indicates from Garden Web: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/rmgard/msg0614380526841.html

    Mice are usually nibblers so I don’t think they would haul off a whole bud. I’m thinking squirrels. Just recently they chewed off my cherry blossom like they were eating popcorn. I’m amazed I have anything in my garden, of course they never touch the weeds.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.