Greenwalks

Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Metamorphosis June 8, 2010

Filed under: flora,perennials — greenwalks @ 7:48 pm
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I feel like I should rename this endeavor Failblog. Oh wait, already taken! This is probably the longest stretch I have gone without posting since starting Greenwalks in 8/09. Sorry to those who came here daily, at least for a while, in search of something new! And also sorry that I have not been around to visit folks and see what everyone’s gardens have been doing. I’m sure it all looks splendid!

While I have been rushing off to end-of-school functions, music rehearsals, and other non-gardening-related pursuits, perennials and self-seeding annuals have been keeping the garden moving despite my neglect. We had the rainiest first few weeks of June in history, which was a bummer for planned outdoor events and Seattle’s general mood, but good for the gardener with no time to water!

The Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale) that were already planted in a tough spot here when we arrived five years ago (next to a cedar tree with challenging surface roots – nothing else will grow there) continue to flourish. The orangey-red ones always seem to open first, followed by the pale pink, and then the coral ones, which are still to come.

I’m sure I’m not the first to compare their journey from fat pupa-like buds to fluttery-winged butterfly-like glory…

Oriental poppy flower bud

Oriental poppy starting to unfurl

Oriental poppy opening up

Opened poppy

Poppy center

They keep their fiery glow going well into the evening:

Evening poppy

Butterflies don’t live very long. Neither do poppies.

Lacy poppy decay

But while they last, what magnificence!

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Bee-autiful Poppies June 10, 2009

Filed under: bugs,flora,my garden — greenwalks @ 5:26 pm
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I have a lot of poppies in my garden at the moment, all bright (loud, really) colors, all about to have a bunch of interesting seed heads but also floppy, dried-out foliage. Many will get yanked to make room for summer annuals, a few more perennials that need to be liberated from their pots, and my growing herb collection.

While they last, though, the poppies not only put on a riotous visual show but also get the bees going nearly insane with delight. I am easily distracted from garden tasks (and they are legion at the moment, including boring endless watering since we have had no appreciable rain since mid-May – what is this, California?!) and love to watch and listen to them wander around the garden and roll around in the pollen. Here is one in the big showy red poppy right outside our front windows:

Bee in poppy

I know we are supposed to be worried about colony collapse, but I have seen a ton of honeybees this spring so maybe things are not so bad as they have been? Anyone know?

I had to hold onto this smaller poppy to take the photo, since the bee was making it wave around so much. Darker bee, maybe a mason bee? I don’t have bee houses so whoever comes to visit, they are making their own homes and hives.

Bee in orange poppy

Lastly, I don’t know quite how they got into my garden, but late spring and early summer would not feel complete for me at this point without my parking strip full of California poppies. I mention them a lot because they just make me so dang happy. The bees agree on this one too – this time it’s a bumblebee.

Bee on California poppy

We just watched the latest Mike Leigh film on DVD, “Happy-Go-Lucky.” I thought it would maybe be annoying, as his work sometimes can be, but it was one of the better movies I’ve seen in a while (click here to see the trailer). A very nuanced take on the daily life of someone who either by nature or choice is just a truly compassionate, funny, joyful person. Her name – oh, did you need to ask? Poppy!

 

On the Ephemeral Nature of Poppies May 21, 2009

Filed under: flora,my garden — greenwalks @ 9:12 am
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Now you see me…

Delicate papery orange poppies

now you don’t!

Poppy stem without petals

(Papaver atlanticum, I believe – kind of a weed in my garden but I let it stay until it’s done blooming, then rip most of it out. It’s always back the next year, and I love its long skinny stems and delicate, papery petals. Plus, up close, the left-behind seed pods are so cute, with their little fuzzy red starfish pattern clinging to the top.)