Tangerine dreaming…waiting for the rain

Papaver ruprifragicum 416
Papaver rupifragum, Tostat, April 2016

We have had a warm week with lots of sun, great for growing, washing and drying clothes, walking the dog, pottering.  But not so good for weeding or jobs that mean getting into the earth.  Our soil dries out so fast, and then sets hard, so there is no point in weeding beasties like dandelions or newly emerging bindweed.  It has to wait for the soil to be loose and moist.  So, today, serious amounts of rain has been promised since mid-morning, but no show yet, and so I am waiting.  So, pots can be topdressed and refreshed, tick, and tidying up done, never my favourite job, some seedlings transplanted into small pots, and so on- whilst I can also dream a bit.

I have written about this little tangerine poppy before.  Papaver rupifragum is a delight, but such a brief one, and knowing that the rain will finish it off, I took this photograph this morning, after the slender flower had already been decked by Dave the Dog on one of his rampages after wildlife.  But the colour is so bright and pure,  that you can spot it from yards away, and so that was me in my pyjamas kneeling down to look down on it.

And a few metres away, my clumps of Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ are really throwing up flowerspikes with abandon. If you’ve never thought of buying plants from the far North of Scotland, let me recommend  Tranquility Cottage Nursery on Orkney.  Their plants are first-rate, decent-sized, a good price and the delivery isn’t sky-high.  I bought 3 of these Geums from them 2 years ago, and they are in great shape, despite the heat of last summer and being in a far hotter place.  I wouldn’t put them in all-day sun with us, that would be too much, but in a spot that is more moist than most, with late afternoon sun and dappled sunshine earlier in the day, they have done fine.  I am also trying out another tangerine geum, Geum ‘Alabama Slammer’ which I bought at my great local nursery at Sanous.

Only in the early part of their second year with me, they are not so well advanced as ‘Totally Tangerine’, but I have a good vibe about them.  Similar colouring, but more ruffled, and with golden hints to them, they will get going a bit later, which helps to spread the flowering.

At the back door, not yet venturing out, maybe at the end of the month, is my small orange tree, which doesn’t fruit, but has fabulous, richly-scented waxy flowers at this time of year.  Some years, it looks a bit sad by now, but actually, this year, it is looking pretty good for having spent the winter in a cold hall next to the glass of the back door. Twining it’s way round it, is a desert climber that I grew from seed last year, Maurandya antirhiniflora, or the Snapdragon Vine.  It hasn’t flowered for me yet, but I hope it will this year.  Much though I would like the trumpet-shaped flowers to be of the magenta variety, judging from what Las Pilitas says, you can start with either magenta or blue, and then the plant will change it’s mind.  Ah well.  Whatever colour it is, is ok with me.

Maurandya antirhiniflora 416
Maurandya antirhiniflora twining into the orange tree, Tostat, April 2016

And back to yesterday, and my ambition to show more of the garden, here is the Pigshed View.  The pigshed, which is empty, and holds wood for chopping can be seen, but more importantly, as the rain is still promised, the blossom on the quince trees front and back in the view, and the beginning of cherry blossom in the middle, is really lovely right now.

Pigshed view 416
Pigshed View, Tostat, April 2016

High and mighty…but tiny…Papaver rupifragum

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…

Papaver rupifragum, April 2105
Papaver rupifragum, April 2105

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.

Papaver rupifragum April 2012
Papaver rupifragum April 2012

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.