Monday, October 06, 2008

Poppies Friends

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's 34 degrees right now and the temperature is beginning to fall, but not quite as fast as the market did around 11 this morning. The temperature has actually been more predictable for me of late than the stock market.

We pulled the last of the zinnias last night knowing that "the real frost" would be here soon. This was a troublesome project and I had real problems pulling up perfectly beautiful flowers. I relented for a few brief moments and walked to the top of the hill for a 5 gallon bucket for one last bouquet.

Our building looked great surrounded by autumn colors but Gail and I knew that it's not uncommon to see snowflakes now so we busied ourselves with all the garden chores. Two hours later the truck was filled to the roof with spent Benary zinnias and the lone bucket of absolutely beautiful flowers sat in the middle of the garden, a new-found place of respite for every bumble bee in town.
But why the picture of the poppy serving as an intro above? Because we like Oriental Poppies and have finally figured out a thoughtful means of dealing with their spent foliage in July.

Oriental poppies come in many colors now so the orange that I grew up with is now accompanied by ruby and scarlet, pink, salmon, white and red. They all like full sun in Vermont but will take partial sun/shade if the "sun" part prevails more than shade. They are about 30" tall, eye catchers-in-bloom, are resistant to deer and they leave a giant gaping hole in your garden when their bloom time ends and they have to catch their breath for next year.

At last, I propose a possible solution!! Try planting anemones and Oriental lilies such as Uchida two feet or so from each poppy. These two are late bloomers so they will not detract from the poppies but will grow upward above the spent foliage and fill in the holes. If you have ever grown poppies before, you understand this problem without further description.

Anenomes are hardy perennials that grow in full sun to partial shade. Gail has grown Queen Charlotte and Robustissima for us for years now and added A. Pamina this year. The first two have proven themselves hardy in our changing climate. The good part is they are late bloomers with first flowers in mid September and lasting through at least the first three weeks of October.

When you have a need to try to get around the poppy-hole-problem or just want some nice fall colors, give the anenomes a try. They are an interesting flower and help us sell the fact that flowers in Vermont should be blooming in your garden at least through Columbus Day!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where Karl the Wonder Dog snores loudly despite the wood stove's heat which is pushing 76 degrees with two doors open. Yes, the challenges of adjusting to seasonal change!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Gardens
Vermont Flower Farm

1 comment:

Liisa said...

I love the photos of the poppies!! They are one of my favorites as well. I like the Anemone suggestion. The other day my fiance asked if the poppies were weeds. :) I want to thank you for the suggestion on the reference book for mushrooms. I think I may just check it out. It will be interesting to be able to identify the wide variety that are growing in my own backyard.