I'm cold. Winter is close by. Tuesday will be the Winter solstice. My thoughts are turning to winter sowing even as the hustle and bustle of Christmas and the various quilts I have to work on breathe down my neck.
There's always hope, and I am the eternal optimist. Poppies are the first things I sow in the winter.
I love poppies of all sorts. This one is an oriental poppy called "Manhattan" or is it "Patty's Plum?" No, I think Manhattan as Patty rotted when I bought her as a bare root. It's too cold to go out now and check...and since is past midnight, I'm not about to.
Winter sowing Papaver somniferum (opium poppies) is the only way I have ever had success with them. Once you get them, in most soils they will come back again from the self-sown seeds. It is such a majestic plant, although it is illegal to sell them...as seedlings I think. I can never remember if it is the seed or the seedlings or the plant. This is one of those plants which has a great deal of mystique as it is handed from one gardener to another.
I think it is sort of silly for us to worry about such things. I highly doubt that any American is going to go to the trouble of growing them for the opium...you have to injure the seedhead while it is green. It then will exude a whitish sap which is collected. Far too much work I think for most Americans. We are more likely to save the seed to put on our bagels, breads and muffins than to go to all this trouble. If you notice the fringed one you can get a sense of the great variation which you get with this plant. They go from white to almost black and ever shade of red and lavendar in between.
This photo was taken in the dusk. I love how it glows. This is another oriental poppy called Victoria Louise...it is a clear watermellon sort of pink, at least that's how the plant catalogues describe it. I think of it more as raspberry sherbet.
I am waiting for the seed catalogs to come. Hopefully, I'll be able to find the seed of Turken Louis, a favorite orange poppy I grew in Connecticut and can't find here. So many nurseries carried it in Connecticut that I didn't think to bring any down here and I haven't been able to find them locally.
In the meantime, near my router sits a plastic container full of seed I have harvested. Soon they will be put in milk jugs outside and they'll start the stratifying that they need in order to sprout. In the meantime, I'll dream of catalogs and the gorgeous flowers which are gathering their power as they sleep in the cold. Just like me.