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The ladybird poppy


by Kate Bradbury

I love the way plants hold associations with places and key events in your life. Some ... I grow in my garden as a fond reminder of the childhood associations I have with them...


Ladybird poppyI love the way plants hold associations with places and key events in your life. Some - like pheasant's eye daffodils - I grow in my garden as a fond reminder of the childhood associations I have with them. Others somehow seem to slip the net.

Every year at Gardeners’ World Live I see the ladybird poppy (Papaver commutatum), and wish I had it. I never see it at any flower shows or public gardens, or even growing in people’s own gardens – but there it is, without fail flowering its socks off at Gardeners’ World Live. Each year I am reminded of its loveliness and how much I would like to grow it, and each year I always manage to forget about it before I've got the train home.

I love the ladybird poppy. It's not particularly fancy or exotic, it's just lovely. A hardy annual - no harder to grow than the field poppy - it will self-seed all over my garden without any fuss if I would just invest in some seed in the first place. It's quite short lived, but if I deadhead it regularly it could flower from June to September next year. It generates a lot of interest at Gardeners' World Live - there's always a delighted crowd assembled around the flowers in awe of its simple beauty.

Last week I started a diary of plants in my garden. I'm making a note of what I grow each year - what I bought, was given, what self-seeded and (mostly) what I dug up and brought back from my mum's garden. It will help me keep check of the successes and failures of my little plot over the years, but it will also be something to look back on in years to come, the diary of my first garden, complete with the lessons I learned from cultivating it.

So far the largest section of the diary is my wish list. As soon as I get back I'll be adding the ladybird poppy to it so as not to forget about it this year. In the meantime it will remind me of a fond few days spent at Gardeners' World Live.



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Gardeners' World Web User 18/06/2010 at 17:20

I bought one of these a couple of years ago at Great Dixter, it looked lovely in my garden but sadly it didn't self-seed so I haven't had any since.

Gardeners' World Web User 18/06/2010 at 17:22

I bought one a couple of years ago at Great Dixter but sadly it didn't self seed so I haven't had any since. I have to agree though, it is lovely.

Gardeners' World Web User 19/06/2010 at 14:47

i brought theses as well but i got mine from hampton court about 3yrs ago,like above mine didn't self-seed either.. could someone tell me what is wrong with my carnations they have grown very well this season,loads of buds which have flowered,but before they flowered the stems were all nice and up-right and it seems that over night they have fallen to the ground,they still flowered and have many buds still on them,it just looks horrid..also it looks like on a few flowers that something is eating some of the petals. the plant is in full sun. last year this also happened... i dont over-water. any clues???

Gardeners' World Web User 19/06/2010 at 14:53

hi could someone help me ,,, im trying to bid for the springwatch wild show tomorrow,i've gone online to bid for the poo-bag that chris packhams dogs had round there neck,on the show the other night he said it was on the auction site, but i cannot find it at all,and i keep checking,am i doing something wrong??? help.....

Gardeners' World Web User 19/06/2010 at 16:59

A fond memory I have is a field trip I took in school when I was a little girl. I remember walking through a field of buttercups. To this day I love any flower, ranunculus, etc., that reminds me of those buttercups

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