Disappointment turns into Delight

At the beginning of May I was full of hope for my Meconopsis, lovely fat buds swelling nicely.  Quite  a few plants performing well so far, gorgeous flowers in that magical shade of turquoise, then suddenly, gale force winds from the north and east. These winds usually only come from that direction during the winter. As well as the winds we had torrential rain for goodness knows how many days, and when I looked at my poor flowers, what a disappointment. They looked so battered and wind burnt, not the least bit like I expected them to.  However, the weather changed, the wind dropped,  the rain stopped, the temperature rose and they started all over again.


More buds started to open, throwing off the furry outer casing, as if they found their overcoat too hot now that the warmer weather had arrived.


Free at last, a quick shake of the tissue paper petals and this flower will be open for business.


One by one more flowers opened in that beautiful shade of blue that I love so much.


Even though we don’t have the masses of blue that I was looking forward to, each one is so beautiful.


Just as well the flowers hang downwards for the petals to protect the pollen through all the rain we had, mind you, there weren’t many bees out when the weather was so bad.


I don’t think I will ever loose my excitement at seeing each flower open, or I hope I never do.


Stunning with the light coming through the petals.


The petals are quite purple where they join the stem, can you see how hairy the stem is?

Purple Meconopsis

Sometimes the flower turns out to be purple instead of blue, still a lovely flower, but not my favourite blue!


A few more flowers open each day now, just as the original ones go over and we are left with the seed heads.


These are the little beauties that I am pinning all my hopes on for next year. The seedlings are now growing strongly and have  been moved out of the greenhouse , round to the back of the garage  in the shade. Having lost all my seedlings last year, due to mildew, I don’t intend to make that mistake again, so they now have plenty of cool air around them.


Now we have the hairy seedheads which will be left until they go brown and start splitting. The seeds will be emptied into an envelope and stored in the fridge until it is time to sow them in January next year.

The disappointment of earlier has now gone and I am delighted with the flowers that I have left.






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20 Responses to Disappointment turns into Delight

  1. Will the purple come true from seed? So you’ll avoid those?

    • Pauline says:

      I really don’t know Diana, but I’m not willing to risk it, so seed won’t be saved from that plant, it’s off with it’s head when the flowers have faded!!

  2. wellywoman says:

    They are so incredibly beautiful, Pauline. I remember the first time I saw a Meconopsis was at Hidcote and I was mesmerised. Are they difficult to grow?I was under the impression that you need acid soil. Not sure whether this is true. Would love to try some in my own garden. I’m so pleased the weather changed and you’ve had the chance to enjoy them.

    • Pauline says:

      They do need an acid soil WW, we are just the acid side of neutral, so I add plenty of leaf mould when they are planted out. I don’t know about difficult, but maybe they take a bit more looking after than the rest of my plants, I think they are worth a bit of extra care, don’t you! They also like shade and moisture, so if you can provide those. then they should be happy in your garden.

  3. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    Beautiful blooms and I’m not jealous at all.. Honest… Hmph!
    What an amazing site if all those seedlings survive to maturity! I’m looking forward to seeing the result next year 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      I’ll try to believe you Liz ! I hope to get the seedlings planted out in a nursery bed in about a months time, when they have grown a bit more, then plant them out in their final place in the autumn. Fingers crossed that most will survive the winter, have to wait and see!

  4. glad you got your blue flowers Pauline, I like the purple one too, all very beautiful, good luck with your seedlings, Frances

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Frances, the blue flowers certainly stood out in the border, you couldn’t miss them! Seedlings looking very happy so far and growing quickly, will soon need to come out of their plug trays.

  5. Alberto says:

    Hi Pauline, fortunately everything went fine at the end! The purple one, amongst the light blu ones, is beautiful indeed! No wonder you are so excited about these beautiful flowers!

    • Pauline says:

      Lovely colours Alberto, but the blue wins every time! Now just have to keep an eye on the seedheads for flowers in 2014!

  6. Lyn says:

    That’s a lot of seedlings! Should be spectacular next year.

    • Pauline says:

      Lyn, a few should flower next year, but mainly these will be for 2014 ! Will just have to see how many survive being put out into a nursery bed and then moved to their final place in the autumn. It won’t be long before they get put in one of the beds in the veggie garden, they are growing so quickly and I’m sure they will need new soil soon to keep them going.

  7. So sorry for you! But you are a wonderful gardener I can tell… already pinning your hopes on next year. 🙂 We must keep hoping or we would give up all together.

    They really are beautiful! I love their color as well.

    • Pauline says:

      Julie, I think we are always hoping that next year will be better! The colour is so stunning, I think they are worth the extra effort.

  8. The blue of Meconopsis always looks wonderful in the shaded areas of the garden, standing out against the shadows. You will have a great display coming up with all of those seedlings. I grew these in my last garden, some years more successfully than others, and should plant them again here.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you for your encouragment, Northern Shade, the seedlings are still doing fine, soon to be transplanted into a nursery bed. When we first moved here I found all our shade a bit of a problem, but now all the shady areas are my favourite bits. Having grown them once, how can you live without them now!! Thanks for stopping by.

  9. stone says:

    Those are terrific!
    Those are said to be almost as difficult as cypredium…
    I like having the variation that sexual reproduction brings, and the purples wouldn’t have been a negative for me, I’ve encouraged it with the somniferums… but I can totally see it being an issue for someone seeking that field of blue… I’m not sure how you would’ve prevented the bees from visiting the other plants after checking out the dark one…
    Let me know when you have extra seed… In a few years… Maybe I’ll have something unusual and desirable by then.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Stone, this purple plant though was blue last year. Sometimes flowers open purple if they are too hot or if other conditions don’t suit them, so this could have something to do with its colour. I usually have lots of extra seed, each seed capsule usually has hundreds of seeds so there are more than enough for anyone who would like some!

  10. kininvie says:

    Pauline, I think things other than genetics sometimes come into play with flower colour..Some time ago, a spruce blew down on one of my meconopsis beds (luckily in winter) and next summer the flowers were purple where the resinous sawdust had landed. Since when I only ever use peat-based compost on them – not the ‘substitute’, which has an unhealthy proportion of pine needles. Even so I’ve noticed that my (non-fertile) plants sometimes produce purple flowers for no discernible reason one year, but are blue again the next…..

    Meconopsis World has little to say on colour variability – but it’s interesting that some of the newer cultivars from the infertile group tend towards a purple/blue mix – again maybe suggesting that there are factors other than genetics at play.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you so much Kininvie, for all this information, there is so much to learn where Meconopsis are concerned. The one plant that was purple, was blue last year, will wait and see what colour it decides to be next year, but won’t save seed from that plant, just in case. Planted out half my seedlings this afternoon in a nursery bed, will do the rest tomorrow, rain permitting!

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