Saturday, April 12, 2008

Got Blue Poppies?


Very nearly the Holy Grail of gardening, the growing of Himalayan Blue Poppies is an endeavor that many gardeners will eventually undertake in their horticultural lives. I'm no exception.

Last year, I tried to grow them from seed started inside and while I did get teeny tiny sprouts, that's as far as it went. What caused their demise is a mystery to me, but my best guess would be damping off, a fungal disease common to early seedlings.

I briefly considered buying them from an online nursery, but the price stopped me. Sometimes I'm willing to pay a little more for something if I feel like it has a good chance of survival in my garden or in my house. Blue poppies probably don't fall into that category.

My friend
Jodi in Nova Scotia, grows beautiful blue poppies in her garden, and while she's in the same zone I am, her growing conditions are a little different. She lives on a hill above Scots Bay and gets damp breezes off the water, giving the cool, moist growing conditions that these poppies love. While envious, I'm glad that someone is able to grow these beauties!

But I'm not giving up. This year, I pretty much covered all bases in my quest to have my own blue poppies. In January, I winter sowed both Meconopsis betonicifolia and Meconopsis x sheldonii 'Lingholm' and so far, all I see are some really tiny pinpoints of green, and I can't yet be sure that they aren't weed seedlings.

Several months ago, Michigan Bulb had an offer of buying three Meconopsis betonicifolia and they'll give you three more for free. Plus, there was a $20 off a $40 purchase. I'd only purchased from Michigan Bulb once before and had a pretty good experience with them. They'd sent nice-sized plants that were packed well for transport and they did well in my garden, especially the helenium. They have a lifetime guarantee on their plants, too. How could I go wrong?

About three weeks ago, the Meconopsis arrived, too early for planting here, but that would be my only complaint. Once again, I was pleased with the size and condition of the plants and a couple of them even had flower buds on them. I put them in the basement greenhouse until a week ago, when I potted them up and started getting them used to outdoors. They've been there ever since and are doing just fine. I'll wait a little bit longer before planting them in the ground.

This determined effort to have me some blue poppies is under Jodi's guidance and I'm hopeful that one way or another, it will be a success. If not, I'll probably try again. Before I die, I will have blue poppies in my garden, even if only for one season.

13 comments:

Blackswamp_Girl said...

This is SO going to be the year of Blue Poppies at Our Little Acre! I just know it! :)

Rosehaven Cottage said...

You are FAR braver than I, Kylee! Although I would just LOVE blue poppies in my garden, I know that our conditions get too hot and dry in the summer to support them. Hmmmm... maybe they'd do better in the winter here? I wonder...

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Beth said...

I want to try almost everything I read about on gardening and nature blogs--but these sound like something that a novice should not attempt--I look forward to seeing the pictures of the beautiful blue poppies in your garden

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I can't wait to see pictures of your blue poppies. It looks like you have a great start.

GardenJoy4Me said...

I have my fingers crossed for you too !
I tried for two years .. I actually bought the plant from a near local nursery. I did everything but sleep with it at night (I just couldn't fit in THAT darn bed with it) .. one year .. let it go to seed .. nothing ... next year cut it down after flowering .. to make the root strong .. again nothing .. BUT, like you .. I may try again .. I want a Blue Poppy in my garden so much !
Joy

garden girl said...

I'm rooting for your blue poppies! So pretty! I love blue flowers. Wish I had enough sun for poppies!

Gina said...

kylee - im so glad you are growing these! im experimenting with these too. I'm doing indoors, and outdoors (WS) to see what happens. Good Luck!

Nancy J. Bond said...

Keeping my fingers crossed -- looks like so far, so good!

Babs said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one! I've repotted all of my early arrivals from MI Bulb and they have taken over all four window sills in my living room. I wish the company would glance at our USDA zones and our frost dates before just shipping things at random...But everything looks healthy so I can't complain too much.

jodi said...

Checking in after being away today...the plants do look good, and if you're planting any other perennials now (I'm a bit behind in my reading) you should be able to plant these. Lots of organic matter, good mulch, and there are enough good wishes surrounding you that this WILL be the year of success for you. Fingers crossed from Soggy Nova Scotia...

Amy said...

If it works for you this time, it will be so exciting!!

Hootin' Anni said...

I would LOVE to have some blue poppies!!! I have the most difficult time getting the 'cold' colors [blues and purples] of flower species to grow in this humid climate!!! They're beautiful. I hope some day you can get them to thrive!!!

I hope you can drop by to view my Green Thumb Sunday, it's my first ever.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I hope the blue poppies do well for you, Kylee.

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