May is Meconopsis time.

May might be Meconopsis time this year, but last year they were flowering at the beginning of April, definitely a month late this year due to our cold, wet spring. Excitement starts as soon as we can see the new growth that has survived the winter.

Meconopsis foliage

Meconopsis bud

This is nothing compared to the excitement when we see the first buds forming! All the Meconopsis in this post are the variety Lingholm which are reliably perennial.

Meconopsis bud

It doesn’t take very long before we are shown a hint of that beautiful turquoise colour, daily visits are essential !

Meconopsis flower

Almost there, the petals are crumpled  still, like tissue paper, it won’t be long now before they are shaken out to show how beautiful they are. They contrast so well with all the cowslips around them.

M. Lingholm

Such a beautiful, gorgeous, stunning blue, I don’t have to say that I love them, do I?!

M. with raindrops

They can take any amount of rain, just as well! Other poppies that look upwards are shattered by any heavy rain, but because Meconopsis hang their heads downwards, the rain just runs off without doing any damage.

Close up, meconopsis

Beautiful golden centre. The pollen is kept nice and dry by the downwards facing flower, so is always ready for any passing bee, haven’t seen many of those lately, it has been so cold and wet.

M. Lingholm

Another flower out today, soon there should be more buds opening, they look so much better when they are flowering in a drift but I was too impatient, wanted to share the first one with you!

Cowslips with Meconopsis

When I was very little, many, many years ago there was a popular song ” A lonely little Petunia in the Onion patch” this is a lonely little Meconopsis in the drift of cowslips! It won’t be lonely for very long, there must be at least 15 plants in this area, each with 5 or 6 flower buds, so soon we will have a lovely patch of turquoise blue contrasting with all the cowslips. These plants of M.Lingholm were all grown from seed saved from 2 yrs ago.

Cowslips and meconopsis

At the moment I am growing on 168 tiny meconopsis plants, grown from seed saved from last summer. I did this the year before but lost them all due to mildew unfortunately. I think maybe I kept the small plants too long in the greenhouse, so this year will try to get them out into a nursery bed before the end of June, then next year, hopefully, we will have drifts of them everywhere !

The header photo was taken last year of Meconopsis betonicifolia, grown from seed which I bought in Canada when we visited the Metis garden a few years ago. More seedlings are being grown on, hopefully to be planted in the woodland when large enough, to form beautiful drifts of turquoise blue in the dappled shade, next year.


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32 Responses to May is Meconopsis time.

  1. Such a beautiful plant – 168 seedlings, wow!

    I tried them once here – and failed, must give it another go as they are quite one of my favourite plants, yours look stunning. It really has been a rough old few weeks weather wise, so cold and so changeable. Lots of things are way behind last year.


    • Pauline says:

      Do try them again Karen, in Wales you should have enough rain to keep them happy! Did you buy seed and try to grow them? I have found that bought seed can more often than not be dead if it hasn’t been stored properly. Found a book, Blue Heaven by Bill Terry, which was very helpful.Best to buy 1 plant then save the seed and put it in the fridge until sowing in January when it then needs to go outside to be frosted. I might have 168 seedlings at the moment, but how many will reach full size?!

  2. Lyn says:

    This is such a beautiful post, Pauline! I hope one day to see the heavenly blue Meconopsis in reality.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Lyn, unfortunately Australia is too hot and dry for them, but I think they are grown in New Zealand if you ever get there.

  3. I have bought seed and tried to grow them – 2 plants survived, then I bought one plant, and put all three in the garden – the failure might be to me forgetting where I put them and stomping on them!!! They grow well in my sister in laws garden, and she is in Wales …. I will give it another go!

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks for coming back Karen, couldn’t help but laugh at the fate of your poor plants! Hope you succeed next time!

  4. Hi Pauline, No wonder you love them! I love the shots of the flower back with the water droplets and then looking up into the flower, wow, that’s stunning! My Mom grew these once, but it was after I left home and so I have never seen these blue poppies up close and personal. I wonder if I could get some to grow here….

    • Pauline says:

      I know that you are in Canada Jennifer, so you should be ok as long as you don’t get too hot in the summer. They will cope with your cold, snowy winters, it will remind them of the Himalayas! I plant all mine in dappled shade to try and keep them out of the heat – what heat!! and they seem ok. The Metis garden that we went to on holiday is on the south side of the St. Lawrence River, fantastic garden, quite a way north, they had thousands in drifts in their woodland, a truly amazing sight. I was hooked from then on and determined to grow them!!

  5. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    I guess my Mecanopsis aren’t blooming this year then 🙁 Knew I was being hopeful when I’d assumed I’d have some this year. Oh well, I’ll have to continue to look at them on blogs like this instead 😀

    Lovely blooms, perhaps next year they’ll grace my garden!

    • Pauline says:

      Hope they do flower next year for you Liz, it was a few years before I started to be successful with them, things still go wrong but trial and error and a lot of determination are needed! Some say not to let them flower in their first year anyway, this is supposed to persuade the plant that it really is perennial and that it should make a nice big plant before flowering, don’t know if I could chop all the flower stems off though!!

  6. Alberto says:

    Absolutely beautiful! You are the perfect gardener, really. You take care of your plants, you nurse them, you know them and you always look at them with original awe. Thanks for sharing your first meconopsis with us and I’m looking forward to seeing your 168 plants next year!!! 🙂

    PS: I’ve never grown meconopsis but I thought they were a little taller, maybe this is a short variety? The flower is superb though.

    • Pauline says:

      Alberto, they do seem small don’t they, definitely smaller than last year, maybe due to lack of rain over the winter maybe! Thank you for all your lovely comments, but I’ll be surprised if all 168 seedlings survive through to next year!!

  7. Christina says:

    So, so beautiful! I’m so glad you didn’t wait to post about the first one; I’ll look forward to seeing all the others flower in their drift. I’ve never had the right conditions to grow them and for that reason I really appriaciate your posts about them. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      We have totally different conditions don’t we Christina, I can’t grow all your lovely silver leafed plants, so we have to just enjoy each others posts about what grows best in our gardens.

  8. Congrats on all of those seedlings and flowers! That is a real accomplishment… something I aspire to do someday. I will need a damper shade garden before I attempt them. I look forward to reading more about them in your garden.

    I will look up the Metis garden – sounds beautiful!

    • Pauline says:

      We certainly have enough damp shade to keep them happy Julie.
      Les Jardins de Metis is sometimes known as the Reford Garden, started by Elsie Reford in 1926, it is at the point where the Mitis River joins the St Lawrence River, would love to have another visit one day!

  9. Not suited to my garden, but has stayed firmly at the top of my I Wish List since I first saw a Himalayan poppy in a Swiss cousin’s garden growing in sight of snowcapped mountains.

    • Pauline says:

      They would certainly feel at home in snow covered mountains Diane, they really are an amazing sight, once seen, never forgotten!

  10. Helle (Helen) says:

    I have to tell you that you are my “meconopsis guru” – and I am trying to take all your advice on how to grow and propagate them on board. Have now bought two betonicifolia plants and plan to harvest the seeds and then hopefully be able to grow my own, maybe not 168, next year. The really are the loveliest of flowers.


    • Pauline says:

      Wow Helen, I’ve never been a guru before!! Your 2 plants of M.betonicifolia will give you loads of seed, you could well have as many baby plants as I do! Meconopsis will break your heart at times, but when things go right, it is all worth it. I think patience and determination are definitely necessary especially when circumstances are sometimes against you.
      Meconopsis Lingholm is definitely perennial whereas M.betonicifolia sometimes dies out after one year, that’s why it is so important to save seed.
      Feel free to e.mail me if you need more information Helen.

  11. Please, please do another post when we can see the drifts. We can’t grow meconopsis in mid-Atlantic US so I have to be happy with yours.

    • Pauline says:

      Will do Carolyn, it will just be a small drift this year with all my seedlings dying last year. Hopefully more next year, as long as my seedlings survive next winter!

  12. Cyndy says:

    Super super jealous – killed and killed them in the northeastern U.S., now in the South I don’t have a prayer – beautiful photos!

    • Pauline says:

      Oh Cyndy, what can I say, I’m sure you can grow things that are impossible for me! When we bought this house I wondered what would grow in our heavy damp soil in all the shade that we have from huge trees. It took me quite a while before I realised that Meconopsis might enjoy being here. Still a bit of a struggle, but I’m learning more about them each year!

  13. catmint says:

    Hi Pauline, when established the large drifts will be totally amazingly divine. I hope they naturalize, in appreciation for all your work (mental and physical) in trying to get them established in your garden. Looking forward to future posts. I’m surprised they get on so well with cowslips – when I trekked in the Himalayas I saw no cows – so I would expect them to prefer goatslips! cheers, cm

    • Pauline says:

      Lol Catmint!! I think it is Yaks that they have to worry about ! All the seedlings look fine so far, so it’s fingers crossed that this batch survive to planting out time. Learning more about them all the time. How fantastic to have trecked in the Himalayas, you must have seen some wonderful plants as well as the amazing scenery!

  14. Helle (Helen) says:

    Thanks Pauline, I do have some questions I’d like to ask, but as I have an ornithology exam coming in a couple of weeks’ time I’m rather busy right now. So shall send you an email later.

  15. kininvie says:

    Hello Pauline,
    I came to visit your meconopsis….fascinated to see ‘Lingholm’ growing with cowslips. I can’t grow cowslips at all, whereas meconopsis flourish. I suspect my soil is just too acid. Have you tried any of the infertile cultivars? I tried ‘Lingholm’ once or twice, but found it didn’t measure up to ‘Slieve Donard’ or ‘Jimmy Bayne’ in terms of size and flower colour. If you like, I’ll post you a couple of offshoots for you to try out…

    • Pauline says:

      Kininvie, that is a really generous offer that I can’t refuse, thank you so much! I havn’t tried any of the infertile cultivars yet, but read about them many a time. I shouldn’t imagine that we are anywhere near as acid as you, we are just the acid side of neutral so Im lucky the meconopsis grow for me, maybe the added compost and leaf mould do the trick at planting time and as a mulch later. Will send you an e.mail with my address and again, thank you so much!

  16. kininvie says:

    No problem Pauline. Best to wait until October probably. That’s usually when I dig and split the clumps. I’ll get back to you closer to the time…

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