For a short time in June, oriental poppies enliven borders with a flamboyant floral display. The foliage appears early in the year, forming neat rosettes concealed by spring-flowering tulips and sweet rocket. In late spring tall stems yield fat buds wreathed in hairy cases, out from which spill crumpled, papery petals.
Oriental poppies thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. As with any other plant, get them off to a good start by incorporating plenty of organic material into the soil, such as home-made compost.
Once finished, poppies can looked a mess. Shearing the whole clump back to ground level will rejuvenate it and create a tidier appearance. Once again there will be neat rosettes and, with luck, a few more flowers in late summer.
Learn about five of the most garden-worthy varieties, below.