Ferocious winds all day Monday left the poppies leaning, some struck down entirely by Tuesday morning.
I was clipping off broken branches and thinning, trying to trim their sail should the winds return, when Marty walked through noting, “Hey, that poppy opened.”
I looked up at a couple still standing upright, saw some new blooms and thought how sweet that he’s trying to console me. Walking past the porch is when I realized he meant this particular poppy, the one we’d been waiting for:
Months before I’d found a few small plants in the garden and tucked them in the one-inch-wide channel that runs for a couple feet between the brick walkway and back porch that’s been filled in with gravel. Poppies have self-sown here in the past and grow surprisingly well in the confined quarters, but no seeds found their way to the porch this year. And it’s such a nice way to wake up, opening the back door and walking down the steps fluttering with poppies, that I took matters into my own hands and planted about six seedlings I found in the garden. Marty later observed how evenly spaced the poppies had seeded themselves here this year. I didn’t say anything.
I assumed the poppies would be Papaver setigerum, like all the zillion others in the garden. But in the narrow channel against the porch, they grew taller than garden poppies, and the leaves began to mildew, which I attributed to having been transplanted. Poppies hate root disturbance and always grow healthier when seeded directly. Even though the buds were noticeably bigger, I was ready to pull them out, but Marty stayed my hand, which is unusual since he’s consistently anti plants popping up anywhere but in the garden proper. “Let’s wait and see what they are.” I did pull three anyway but left the few that weren’t too mildewed.
The petals are in the same color range as all the other poppies this year, Papaver setigerum, but deeper, more saturated. And these porch poppies are bigger and frillier, the stamens much larger. It looks a lot like Annie’s Annuals & Perennials Lavender Breadseed, which I don’t recall ever growing.
Within minutes of the mystery porch poppy’s opening, you’d think someone announced a blue-light special on pollen.
It was a bee brawl, with as many as ten at one time wrestling in the petals, their knickers covered in poppy pollen.
The petals had fallen by nightfall, and there were no new blooms open this morning.
The bees were back to making their rounds on the poppies in the garden this morning, which are slightly wind-blown but still blooming.