Friends have sometimes said of my garden, ” ..you have so many tall things..”and I do, and one or two have said “What about smaller plants?” And I have laughed and said something about compensation for being a short person, but isn’t it funny how some things stick in your mind. So I have been getting to know shorter plants lately, on the grounds that my friends had hit on something. I was ignoring the plant world that lives at less than 1 metre high.
Right now, a very tiny and delicate plant is getting ready for its moment in the limelight. I first saw this plant on Annie’s Annuals about seven years ago, but since then, the same plant, I am pretty sure, is now being called Papaver atlanticum ‘Flore Pleno’. Still, not having got to the bottom of a possible identity crisis, I was relieved to find a good poppy blog by Matt Mattus, a plantsman, that is still talking about Papaver rupifragum or the Spanish Poppy. So, for now, I’ll stick with the name I know.
It is a spirited and delicate thing. It’s a slow grower, I practically needed tweezers to transplant the seedlings to grow it on, and probably because we get a tad too much Spring rain for it, it’s still with me, but in recovery this year from the epically wet Spring we had last year. So, although it is in a hot South facing spot, I reckon it’s got to be hotter and drier still. So, for the UK, thin, bone-dry soil, tops of walls, that kind of thing and SUN. So, for the first reveal, I give you the plant as of yesterday…
Not much perhaps to look at, though I love the arching shepherd’s crook shape of the flowerhead, so here is how this will look later in the week, when I will miss it as I am in London and Edinburgh for a few days.
It is the most beautiful and delicate, and not shouty, orange with petals that softly crinkle at the edges. Tougher than it looks in rain too. I think that what I must do is buy some more seed from Derry Watkins and have a go in a drier spot. There’s a plan. And a great reason to, while I am at it, see what else Derry has got that’s new to me. Usually masses of things and then I have to choose. Delightful torture.