Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's BEAUTIFUL Outside!

What a lovely day! The temperature's in the low 70s, there's a constant cool breeze blowing, the sky is both blue and cloudy, and everything is bright and green. The roses are blooming, the grass is mown--it's just lovely.

I'm trying to grow Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale) from seeds again. It was (again) quite difficult to find the seeds I was looking for (single red poppies, fer cryin' out loud! Like in all those Georgia O'Keefe paintings! Why is this so hard?), especially since I wanted to buy dark blue larkspur from the same place--no point paying shipping twice for a mere two packs of seeds. Dark blue larkspur are also harder to locate than you would ever believe--everyone wants to sell mixes of larkspur. But it's that dark, deep indigo blue that I want--why mess around with washy-looking, pallid, bleached blues?

This is the kind of blue I'm talking about. Who wants baby blue when they could have this? Taken at the Landmark Inn in Castroville, TX, 2005.

So I ended up buying from the same supplier as last year, which calls to mind that annoying quotation attributed to Einstein about insanity consisting of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. But as the weather is friendlier this year, perhaps I'll get more than two 3-inch larkspur sprouts for my pains.

Poppies and larkspur at the Landmark Inn in Castroville. I loved this combination so much that I've been wanting to replicate it ever since.

The varieties I'm trying are 'Scarlet' for the poppies and 'Galilee Blue' for the larkspurs. I was also seduced by a attractive off-pink poppy called 'Coral Reef.' The pink is going to complicate my color scheme (red poppies and blue larkspur against the white gazebo--so bright and pretty), but the likelihood of either of them germinating doesn't seem to be very high, in which case I won't need to worry about the color scheme at all.

I also picked up a few packets at Peckerwood last week--I got 1 packet of single red Papaver somniferum (opium poppy) and two of Herbertia lahue ("prairie nymph"). I feel pretty good about the P. somniferum, since I know they thrive around here and re-seed generously. So even if the P. orientales let me down, I should have some sort of red poppy come next May.

I'm expecting the single red Papaver somniferums to look more or less like this picture from "Ned30's" photostream on Flickr. As an aside, I don't know where Ned30 hangs out, but he's been snapping some lovely poppies. I especially like the "Single Black" P. somniferum--so decadent!

I'm not so sure about the Herbertia, which I've never tried before, but I'm tickled to pieces to finally have the chance to grow this dainty native member of the iris family (Iridaceae), which is quite rare in the nursery industry.

Herbertia lahue (prairie nymph) from a page from A&M's Botany Dept. (scroll down--same page also has a picture of Sysirinchium, recently purchased from LdyBJ Wildflower Ctr)

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