Saskatchewan·Feature

#YouShouldGrowThis: Poppies won't give up in the garden

CBC gardening columnist Lyndon Penner explains why you should grow poppies.

CBC gardener Lyndon Penner wants you to grow more poppies

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      Poppies have been much loved by gardeners for centuries and even longer. They are showy, low maintenance and come in many colours.

      Most flower in early summer, and they can be either annuals or perennials. Many of their close relatives (which are not true poppies) bear a resemblance to them and include California poppies, the famed Himalayan blue poppies, and the brightly coloured, shade-loving Welsh poppies. 

      - Lyndon Penner on poppies

      Most poppies should be planted in a sunny site with good drainage. They can be prone to rot if they sit in heavy soil.

      The oriental poppies, with their enormous bowl-shaped blooms, resent disturbance and should be placed where they will not need to be moved. They can live 40 years or more. Iceland poppies, if not deadheaded, will self seed all over.

      The breadseed poppies can be single or double flowered and although many are red, they can also be white, pink, or rose. They are annuals but self-seed very freely.

      If you're looking for plants that are easy to raise from seed, inexpensive to buy, bloom over a long period, and ask very little in return, the poppies are probably just the plants you need! 

      #YouShouldDoThis

      Here are Lyndon's top three tips for early July

      ​Deadhead: Colombines (Aquilegia) are much loved perennials of early summer that can look very shabby when they are finished blooming. Remove the spent flowers as close to the base of the plant as you can. If you don't do this, they will self seed to the point of being a nuisance and seedlings may or may not be the same color as the parent.
       
      Water: It's been hot and it's probably going to get hotter! Make sure your plants aren't thirsty! Those in containers will have to be watered the most (possibly twice a day if it's over 25 and their pots are plastic) and anything NEW in the garden should be top priority. Trees, shrubs, perennials that are newly planted and do not yet have developed root systems should be kept well watered, including those that are drought resistant. 
       
      Smoke safety: With all the smoke billowing down here from up north, air quality can be compromised! If you're finding the smoke irritating or your eyes are feeling scratchy and unpleasant, put down the hose and go inside. Your garden is not worth getting sick over.  

      ​Did this work for you? Have more questions? Let us know on Twitter @CBCSask or Facebook and use the hashtags #YouShouldGrowThis and #YouShouldDoThis.

      About the Author

      Lyndon Penner

      Columnist

      Lyndon is a gardening expert and columnist with CBC. Follow him on Twitter at @CBCgardener.

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