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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Far Reaches Farm Part Two; Feeling a Little Blue?


 In yesterday's post, I reveled in the many fine examples of Podophyllum, one of my favorite groups of plants, at Far Reaches Farm in Port Townsend. Today, we'll look at blue poppies in bloom. Of the blue flowered meconopsis, Dan Hinkley wrote, "There is nothing quite like the scene when these are in full blossom, like a flock of turquoise macaws sweeping into the garden , bringing with them pieces of the sky itself to place amongst the greenery. "


Having had these in my own garden, I can tell you that the sight of this exquisite blue poppy starting to unfurl it's silky petals  from it's golden haired bud is one of the more exciting moments in the garden year!
 

Meconopsis 'Lingholm' is the most reliably hardy of the Himalayan Blue Poppies. At Far Reaches, they dot the shade garden and at the back are allowed to seed down into what looks like a drainage ditch, as if to say, "Oh, those weedy things just pop up everywhere here in gardening paradise."  It makes me smile every time I see them.

Although fairly easy to grow here, they do require some attention and even then don't seem to be extremely long lived.  However, seed is produced which can be started to make more. According to Kelly, "A small percentage will bloom and die - that is just the roll of the Blue Poppy dice and part of the mystique."    There is a blue poppy meadow  at the  Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden but I've never been there at the right time to see what must be a spectacular display.  Val Easton has and wrote an article about it here.  The folks at Lakewold Gardens have a large planting as well and have reported that they have to replace a few each year.

Seeing these fabled blue blooms for a few weeks in May is worth the trouble for some. 

Meconopsis  with a little bit of violet. (grandis?)

Do check out the other meconopsis offerings at Far Reaches.  The violet form is also pretty gorgeous but they were none blooming on this particular visit.

From bud to seed head, this is an exciting plant!
 
Want to know more and see some beautiful images?  Click on over to  The Meconopsis Group.
 

36 comments:

  1. This was such a treat to see! I've tried to grow this in my garden twice now, but it is quite expensive to buy and I've had to give up. Happy to see it so beautifully blue in your photos :)

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    1. They don't tolerate hot summers very well. There are many beautiful plants but the turquoise/blue color is fairly rare in the flower world.

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  2. LOVE these...although, I'm slightly embarrassed to admit, I've never grown any...which is crazy, because I remember living in Nebraska and WISHING I could grow them! We really are lucky to live somewhere in which they can grow like weeds ;-) BTW...a violet version...DROOL!

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    1. They're pretty and I've grown them but they don't seem to like to have big leaves plop on top and smother them. Strange. Anyway, you should do it!

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  3. Great pictures! But I did find one violet one blooming in the lath shade pavilion.

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  4. I remember being stopped in my tracks at the HPSO sale one year seeing my first blooming blue poppy. Gorgeous!

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    1. It's one of those things that every PNW garden should have if visitors from just about anywhere else in the country will be visiting, just to make them jealous.

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  5. So beautiful... I could just weep reading your remark that they are "fairly easy to grow here", living as I do in areas where summer heat and drought appear to make them an utter impossibility.

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    1. Yes but we can't grow huge tomatoes or many of the melons very well without a greenhouse.

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  6. Iv'e always adored these blue poppies in gardening books. Not something you see over this neck of the woods. Wonderful shots, the first one of the bud is lovely.

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    1. They can't tolerate a lot of heat in the summer and must have a cold winter. In addition, they like moist but not boggy soil. Pretty demanding customers.

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  7. Absolutely gorgeous. I have no success although I've tried several times.

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    1. Your summers are too hot and humid I think which is great for all of your beautiful tropicals!

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  8. Beautiful blue poppies! They don't do well for us but thrive so well in colder regions here

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    1. The flower is matchless but the foliage is dull so it often gets forgotten in my garden after it blooms.

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  9. We saw one at the Chicago Botanic Garden and Judy asked, "why don't we have some of those?" I just sighed.

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    1. I'm surprised that they'd live in Chicago's hot summers. Do you suppose that the CBG cools them in some way after they bloom?

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  10. Garland Nursery, my go-to for emptying my wallet, had a bunch of them for sale. They were all in bloom so I snapped a few photos. At ten ducks a pop, I didn't feel the need to bring any home. I'm not a huge fan of blue but they are quite something. However, I am a huge fan of Podophyllum so I'm going to check those out on your previous post. :)

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    1. Sometimes you can find seedlings or very young plants for a lower price, plant them and wait a year or so and you'll have blooms.

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  11. Blue poppies are gorgeous, but probably not the thing for my climate.

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    1. You could probably grow Puya berteroniana and Puya alpestris which also have a rare flower color.

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  12. That blue poppy is so lush and exotic to me...delicate and powerful at the same time.

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  13. Gorgeous! I love poppies, especially blue ones. Mine didn't survive one winter...

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    1. The poppy family contains a lot of beauties! I'm sorry your blue ones didn't survive!

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  14. They are gorgeous aren't they. I have so many poppies in the garden, but feel there is always room for another one, and the blues have been catching my eye.

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    1. Oh yes, there's always space for a few more!

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  15. My garden friend, Monique somehow coaxed one to bloom in her CT garden a few years ago. Definitely a holy grail for us. I enjoyed visiting Far Reaches last summer. Kelly was the only plant person I encountered who told me absolutely not could I grow Lobelia tupa in my zone, even with protection.

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    1. Monique must be an amazingly good gardener or practice sorcery of some sort! Did you get to see hers in bloom?

      Sue (of Sue and Kelly,) having gardened in Vermont for all those years, has a handle on what will and won't grow back there. Kelly is very honest about hardiness of plants which eliminates a lot of heartache.

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    2. Sue is actually from a town in CT just a few over from me.

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  16. Ahhh, an entire post dedicated to the elusive Blue Meconopsis! I am waiting for my M.
    Lingholm to bloom. He was the sole survivor [and only x shelldonii cross] of four that I purchased last year. The others were M.grandis. They are not supposed to be happy campers here where the summers can be crazy hot and humid. Fingers crossed that mine is with me for a couple years at least - long enough for it to set seed at least!

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    1. Kelly at Far Reaches says that Lingholm is the most reliably perennial of the lot. Congratulations on keeping one alive during your summer! You must have some special magic!

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  17. Oh boy, I really want some of these. That violet one is gorgeous! Wonderful photos!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.