Oriental Poppies - My very own garden flamingos!

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Today's post comes from one of the newest and youngest members of our team, Arthur. Find our more about him on our Meet the Team page...

As a child  all I wanted was a flock of flamingos! Of course unless you happen to be a millionaire or know a curator of a private zoo the chances of you getting real life flamingos is pretty slim.

In any case they are picky, rare birds needing a specialist diet to keep  in the pink and only feeling relaxed when kept in a group of at least 30 members. So I needed an alternative to real life flamingos for our small  town garden in the form of plants and one of these plants that take their place is Papaver Orientalis 'Patty's Plum'.

Papaver Orientalis 'Pattys Plum'

All the oriental poppies are undoubtedly gorgeous. Like flamingos you can't have too many, the bigger the clump the more blooms therefore the bigger the impact. Newly opened petals are textured like rumpled up silk handkerchiefs in  shades of pinks, scarlet’s, oranges or in my favourite cultivar 'Patty's Plum' case a unique  burgundy red, its rather hard to describe the actual shade of this one and it does seem to slightly vary between bloom to bloom. In the spring up come the fury leaves before the thick stems atopped with their ballooning buds that are oh so tempting to squeeze!

People complain that oriental poppies are fleeting beauty’s. Indeed they do not last very long true, but oh what a sight they are when in full swing. The sight of this is only made eve more divine when a big bumble bee arises from a blooms centre coated in pollen from their jet black stamens. Like a flamingos wing of bright pink and jet black flight feathers this colour combination is seen also in oriental poppies and a clump of them in full bloom is like a parade of the dancing, honking pink marvels.


Once the flowers have faded the clump can be sharply cut back to its base and new leaves will soon sprout back. A second blooming may occur depending it seems upon weather patterns of the year. In a sheltered spot staking is not essential but in a breezy border  thin hazel sticks  pushed into the clumps crown before growth really starts to get going will be of benefit.

I bought another 'Patty's Plum' plant from this years visit to Chelsea flower show from the Mindfulness garden designed by Martin Cook, it showcased many fabulous perennials and at its heart was the jewel of them all - a rich, lush Pattys Plum! Happy, colourful gardening!