Looking back through old photographs of my Meconopsis Lingholm, this year they are four weeks later to flower than in 2011, I can’t believe that they were in flower half way through April that year. Even though they are later, there is still that sense of anticipation, while waiting for the buds to split and show the first hint of the electric blue that they are famous for. Such a beautiful turquoise blue, I don’t think any other flower has the same shade of blue. I think it looks especially lovely against the acid green of the Euphorbia palustris planted at the back of the bog garden.
The top one is looking rather wind burnt from the gales last weekend, they do like to be sheltered, I thought they were, but obviously not enough.
Even the backs of the flowers are beautiful.
More flowers are opening in the bog garden, keeping the Meconopsis company.
Seedlings of Primula Postford White makes a good companion for the Meconopsis, flowering at the same time.
They do go well together. All these Meconopsis and the primulas are from seed. The Meconopsis seed was saved in 2012 and were planted out last year as plug plants, I have 13 plants from lots of seed. Seed saved last year which I was hoping to plant out this autumn, unfortunately have been a disaster, I think I will only have 4! I’m not sure if it was the compost I used or the fact that we didn’t have a frost all winter. I normally leave the seed tray outside for them to get frosted, but it just didn’t happen this winter. Maybe in future I could put half the seeds that have been sown into a poly bag and put them in the freezer for a couple of days, that might do the trick if we don’t have a frost again next winter.
The few that I have are very precious and are the first plants I go to see each morning while they are flowering, I get immense pleasure from them, all because they are such a heavenly shade of blue!
I do like blue flowers as they’re so unusual and eye catching. Poppies are usually drought tolerant but yours is doing really well in the bog garden so they must enjoy it there! I have a low growing ground cover plant with the same colour of flower – Lithodora diffusa Heavenly Blue – so I smiled when you wrote that you get immense pleasure from the Meconopsis because of their heavenly blue colour!
I think Caro, we have to go to the Latin for their family name, Meconopsis are different in their requirements from members of the Papaver family, it’s confusing when they all get called poppies! I have the same Lithodore with true, dare I say it, Maggie Thatcher blue flowers, Meconopsis are more turquoise I think, both lovely though.
BTW, did I promise you a cutting last year of Santolina Lemon Fizz? I will send it to you if you give me your address!
How nice to see this post pop up in my reader this morning! I look forward to seeing your Himalayan poppies every year. And thanks for the suggestion of the primula!…One reason why I so enjoy reading your garden blog!
You’re very kind Julie, there are some plants that deserve adulation when they flower and I think Meconopsis come into that category! Will you be growing them in your new garden, they would look wonderful under all your trees?!
*sits in the back row booing and hissing*
Maybe, just maybe I’m a little jealous of your Meconopsis. Nothing personal, just frustrated that mine have died. Ggggggggr. At least though, my ‘Garden Gnome’ Poppies have opened, although not blue they do still have lovely vibrant colours.
You mentioned you like to frost your seeds/seedlings – is this the same for the adult plants? Do they also need frost? We did have a few this winter, but where my Meconopsis are it’s quite shaded so doesn’t tend to get hit by frost unlike other borders. Either that, or I didn’t manage to keep them damp/wet enough last summer.
Hi Liz, I’m listening to you!
I think we have to remember where the Meconopsis come from originally, the Himalayas. They can take any amount of frost and snow, but they do like it damp all year. My plants that flowered last year all died over the winter, not one left and I am sure it was because I didn’t keep them damp enough in the hot summer we had, I was relying on the underground stream to water them, I think it must have been drier than usual although the other plants in the bog seemed very happy. This summer I will water as soon as it isn’t raining so that I don’t lose these.
They are plants that require certain conditions, it is a steep learning curve, I’ll get there in the end, but they are so worth it!
If you want me to save you some seed from this years flowers, just let me know.
The striking blue of these flowers sent me straight to google to research them. Sigh. There is no hope for me to reproduce the climate of the Himalayas here, so I will be reduced to admiring yours. I love how the Meconopsis looks with the Euphorbia in the background.
Deb, I don’t have a Himalayan climate here, thank goodness! I can give them the moisture they want and by growing them in shade, it doesn’t get too hot for them. Usually they do far better in Wales and Scotland where it is cooler and also wetter! They are such beautiful flowers, I think they are worth the bit of extra effort that they need.
They are absolutely stunning and I am green with envy because I can’ t grow them here in Suffolk. They look gorgeous with the Euphorbia palustris and with the Primula.
I am very impressed that you grow them from seed.
Chloris, the seeds come up like mustard and cress, it’s later that the problems start. Too wet, too dry and they might not come through their first winter, they’re worth it though when you first see that gorgeous blue!
They really are lovely Pauline! I particularly like the buds as they are just opening as the violet hues can be seen best then. Heavenly is the right word, and I can understand why you love them so much. When my oriental poppies are flowering I love to check on them first thing in the morning too!
Glad you like them Cathy, I like to see how many more buds have opened overnight! They start off purple, but by the time they are fully open, they have changed to the beautiful turquoise that I love.
I noticed one of my oriental poppies this morning, it has 10 plus buds, so should look good once it starts flowering. I will look forward to seeing photos of yours!
There’s not many gardeners in the south that can grow these beauties Pauline, well done to you, or should that be well done to your garden 🙂
My one and only mec (white flowering) got stood on and I think I’ve killed the blinking thing!!!! I’m so annoyed with myself about it.
I’ve enjoyed seeing yours and I could stare at them all day. Thanks for sharing them with us.
Angie, I think I’m just lucky to have an area in the garden that suits them, moist and shady so they don’t get too hot but have moisture when they need it.
Your poor white meconopsis, I hate it when I stand on something precious, maybe it will put out new shoots or come again next year.
They really are the only flower with that very special blue. I’ve never lived anywhere I could grow them but if I had the right conditions it owuld be atthe top of my wish list. I’m sorry you lost the plants you had last year, but I hope you manage to collect lots of seed this year.
They are such a lovely blue Christina and growing them has been a steep learning curve for me. Hopefully I can keep these plants alive over the summer and winter so that I don’t miss this years seedlings too much. Hopefully there will be plenty of seed for next year, I think gardening makes us optimistic !
They are beautiful Pauline. I have tried and failed, but will still try again. I planted them in the woodland and read somewhere that they don’t like to compete with too many tree roots. Perhaps that was the reason.
Jessica, I think maybe you’re right, the tree roots would take all the moisture in the summer when they do need to be enjoying moisture at their roots. Where they come from in the Himalayas, they have monsoons in the summer months so enjoy being damp. Where I have them in the bog there are only a couple of trees giving them the shade they need down here. Thinking about it though, I have seen them in various gardens in the Lake District and Scotland in quite dense woodland, maybe they had added irrigation.
Your Meconopsis are impressive beauties Pauline and the companion Primula Postford White is a nice pairing. How long does each poppy flower last?
Thanks Susie, I’m so glad that the white primula flowered at the same time as the meconopsis, they look good together at the back of the border. Each flower lasts for about a week and as there are 4 or 5 buds on each plant, there should be flowers for quite a while.
Such a wonderful colour. Do they grow in acid soil? I would like to try to grow them.
Yes they do Gitte, The soil here is just the acid side of neutral and they seem fine. I’m so glad you want to try them, do make sure you buy fresh seed or buy one plant and save your own seed, quite often seed sold in garden centres hasn’t been stored properly and is dead!
Pauline you would be a hit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show; seems many of the display gardens are blue and white this year. You are quite the style setter!
Thanks Marian, but it was a pure fluke that the white candelabra primulas flowered at the same time as the meconopsis! I hoped they would, but some years the meconopsis flower about a month earlier, I don’t know yet if the same would apply to the primulas.
So lovely Pauline, I have been looking forward to seeing your meconopsis. Mine are not quite there yet. I have been looking into which companion plants to get for them, the candelabra primulas go very well with them, I find. Do you have other companion plants for the meconopsis?
So glad Helle that you have had success with your Meconopsis, the anticipation while waiting for the flowers to open to see the colour of your first flower is so worth it!
As well as the white candelabra primulas I have some white foxgloves, also hostas, ferns and astilbe. There are also some Iris ensata which will flower after the meconopsis have finished.
I enjoy seeing these ever year because we can’t grow them in our climate. The only plant I have with a somewhat similar color flower is Virginia bluebells.
Carolyn, I would imagine it is your hot summers that the meconopsis wouldn’t like, they would feel quite at home with the winter you just had, they would feel they were back in the Himalayas! They are such a beautiful turquoise blue, I love them as they are my favourite colour since childhood.
I love these mecanopsis or is it mecanopses! We seem to be able to grow them up here in Aberdeen as I have seen a few in the gardens round and about. I did lose one, but my current one has been in a few years now. I do have it somewhere rather sunny, but it seems to cope with it – it rarely gets too hot up here anyway. Having seen your post though I want more!!! Maybe I should try and save the seeds this year.
They are not in flower yet, but maybe in a week or so we can enjoy their beautiful blue again. Thanks for the preview.
I think it’s just Meconopsis Annette, the same in the plural as single! Aberdeen should be good for growing them, nice and cool! I think the best way to go if you want more than the odd one is to sow seed otherwise it works too expensive! There is a good website http://www.meconopsis.org/ which gave me lots of information about sowing seed. Do show photos of yours when it flowers please.
They are an amazing color. I’m not even going to pretend that I’ll ever have any luck growing them here… it’s hard enough getting a delphinium to do well, and I’ll have to just let those be my magic 🙂
I’m pushing my luck Frank, trying to grow them here in the south of the UK, they grow much better in the north of England and Scotland. Blue Delphiniums are beautiful too I think all my slugs and snails would find them very tasty!
Late to this post, but so glad to see you are still keeping the meconopsis going in deepest Devon. If I might add a few points to some of the comments above:
1)Shade is probably even more important than damp (though damp is important too)
2) Tree roots (inevitable if you have them in shade) do them no good – dry out soil and nutrients. I lift all mine every three years and dig out every last tree root.
3) They are greedy feeders and go back fast with insufficient nutrients. On the same three year cycle, I dig in huge quantities of leafmould and add two or three bags of ericaceous compost
4) They just won’t grow on some soils – anything with chalk e.g. The only solution then is to grow them in a large tub or raised bed where you can give them the environment they like
Thanks Kininvie, it’s good to hear your thoughts about meconopsis. Yes, I can tick off all that you say, except the one about lifting every 3 years, mine will only be 3 years old next year, so will lift them next spring.. Mine are almost over for this year, just a couple more buds to open, then I will wait for the seed.