Meconopsis time.

It’s the time of year when I go looking for that delicious shade of blue in the garden. To start with, in February, looking to see how many plants of Meconopsis Lingholm have survived the winter, then when I can see a cluster of leaves with golden hairs on them, I know that once more we are going to have a splash of kingfisher blue in the border.


From the first buds forming and then starting to open, daily visits are essential.


A lot of mine started opening their buds when they were only a few inches tall, which was a bit worrying, why were they so small?


Being small didn’t detract from the flowers which this year are much later than last year. Then I was posting about them on May 4th, so about 5 weeks behind still.


So far this is all one plant that I have been showing you, the first one to flower. These are from seed that I collected in 2009 and sowed in 2010, and planted out in their final place in 2011. This is their second year of flowering.


Slowly they are all growing, getting taller each day.


At least now they are taller than the cowslips, I was concerned for a while that they were all going to be tiny.


Absolutely stunning and look at all that wonderful pollen, just waiting for a passing bee.


Seed that was collected in 2011, sown in 2012 and planted out this spring have just 2 plants that are flowering, the others hopefully will double up and flower next year. These flower stalks have grown normal size right from the start and have been planted with white candelabra primulas, also grown from seed, for contrast.


More plants flowering now, not quite the drift I am hoping for, but gardening teaches us patience, one day maybe!


There are lots more buds to open yet, so my area of kingfisher blue will continue to delight me for some time to come. Last years seeds were sown in February and they are now nice little plug plants which will soon be planted out to add to the drift which I hope to have in one or two years time. Patience, I will get there one day, because once seen, if you have the right moist, acid conditions, then they are a must have plant!

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32 Responses to Meconopsis time.

  1. Gitte says:

    So beautiful and an amazing colour. Alas I do not have moist and acid conditions, so I must admire these beauties elsewhere. You are lucky.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes, I am lucky Gitte, but then, you can probably grow some plants that I can’t. This is what I find so interesting about gardening, so many different habitats to suit such a wide variety of plants. The meconopsis are such an amazing blue, I feel that they are worth the little extra effort involved.

  2. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Thank you for sharing your gorgeous meconopsis blooms. The color is incredible! It’s always a special treat to see them I bloom.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks for visiting Peter, I share your delight in them because the colour is so amazing. It is always a bonus when we find them in a garden that we are visiting.

  3. Alberto says:

    I totally agree with you, they are a must have for those who have the right conditions. Unfortunately I’m not one of those, so I avoid disappointment. Growing this plant takes a couple of year planning if I got it right, is this because they are short living plants or maybe they die after flowering? Or is it just because you want to increase their number?
    But you posted some stunning pictures, that blue is unique and I like those white primulas as a background, although the yellow ones look striking too.

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Alberto, I suppose they are a short lived perennial, 3 or 4 yrs I believe so it is always best to have some new ones coming on, also, yes, I do want to increase their number so that I will eventually have a decent sized drift of that exquisite blue.

  4. Christina says:

    Alas I don’t have acid soil and it certainly isn’t moist! I can’t think of another flower that is that colour so it is very special. Lovely images, blue isn’t always easy to capture on film. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      But Christina, you can grow so much that I can’t! The electric blue is so unusual, they seem to jump at you from the border, the blue is so riveting.

  5. So beautiful, Pauline! I would call that an excellent start! I was looking forward to seeing these again this year, remembering how nice they were last year. Here is to hoping that your garden is covered with iridescent blue in a few years 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Julie, they are increasing in number, but rather slower than I would like. We have so many shady places but not all would be moist enough for meconopsis. Hopefully I will have them in a few borders in a few years time, they are certainly teaching me to be patient!

  6. pbmgarden says:

    These are beautiful Pauline. Isn’t it fun to watch them unfold each step of the way?

    • Pauline says:

      Yes, I agree Susie, they are beautiful, such an unusual shade of blue. Once the buds starts to open, each day brings a new view of them, daily visits are essential!

  7. kininvie says:

    They look happy enough to me, Pauline. Though I’m concerned they may not be bulking up (can’t really tell from the pix). I don’t grow ‘Lingholm’ so I can’t advise. I do think you should track down some non-fertile cultivars if you can, though – dividing is a much faster process for getting your drift of blue. I’m also chary of the fertile types, because I guess they remember their monocarpic background, and don’t live so long. I’ve just put up a gallery of my Slieve Donard, specifically to make you jealous!

    • Pauline says:

      The ones that are a couple of years old Kininvie have doubled or some even trebled, so obviously I’m going to have to get in there and divide them, do you do it in the autumn or wait till spring? Thanks for the link to your super photos, they are beautiful! Jealous,no, just more determined than ever!!

  8. Angie says:

    Pauline your Mecs are gorgeous. I wonder if their lack of height early in the season was not much rain. Glad to see they have returned to normal though. My Meconopsis x cookei were a failure but my white Meconopsis has just started flowering.

    • Pauline says:

      Angie, I don’t know about the lack of rain, because the newly planted ones were the correct size from the start, I’m just glad they have caught up! I have just one white meconopsis which I bought last year hoping for some fresh seed, it has split into 3 but so far no flower bud, I’m sure yours must look stunning!

  9. Cathy says:

    As soon as I saw the post title I guessed it would be these and it was a joy to share their unfolding – thank you Pauline!

    • Pauline says:

      A pleasure Cathy, just as earlier in the year I had to check on the woodland first thing in the morning for the snowdrops, now it is up to the bog garden for the meconopsis. New flowers are opening each day in that lovely shade of blue, I have to have my daily fix!

  10. Wendy says:

    Lovely photos of these beautiful flowers. I hope they do flower in drifts for you in time; they will look stunning.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Wendy, I will get there eventually. Each year that goes by, they are increasing, just not at the rate that I thought they would. Not to worry, I’ll just enjoy the ones I have at the moment.

  11. Anna says:

    What a glorious shade of blue Pauline and those fuzzy gold hairs are so attractive too. Such beautiful flowers – how long do they flower for? Many years ago we visited Lingholm Gardens in Cumbria from where I think this poppy may have originated. It was a beautiful garden but I think it is no longer 🙁

    • Pauline says:

      They are a lovely colour aren’t they Anna, it is so exciting seeing their hairy leaves emerging in late winter and know that they have survived. The individual flowers last for approx. 4 or 5 days, but just as one is going over, another on the same stem opens. Usually there are 4 or 5 flowers on each stem, so overall there are flowers for quite some time. What a shame if the garden where it originated is no longer there, but now it lives on in lots of other gardens instead.

  12. kininvie says:

    Pauline – I know it’s a huge temptation, but I wouldn’t rush in and divide in too much of a hurry were I you. The clump needs to be big enough to form at least two substantial clumps when split, otherwise there’s a danger of ending up with little plants which may not survive. I’ve split them in both spring and autumn, and I think on the whole that autumn is preferable, because in spring there’s a danger of damaging the newly-growing offshoots. But autumn division is inclined to wreck large numbers of the fragile leaves – so leave it until they are well on their way to dying back for the winter anyway. October or even early November (though not if frost is already in the ground). The other thing I do is cut out the flower stems once flowering is over – no proof, but I think it helps to encourage the new growth. Good luck – I watch your progress with great interest.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you so much Kininvie for getting back to me, I really do appreciate it. I will make a note of all that you have said here so that when the time comes, I can refer to it. I will follow your advice and leave splitting for a while and when it is necessary will do it in late autumn, we don’t usually have a ground frost until the New Year. Many thanks, its good to know I have an expert just an e.mail away!

  13. debsgarden says:

    Wow, I would be watching that plant every day, too. The color is amazing! I would like a field of them, thank you!

    • Pauline says:

      Unfortunately Deb, they wouldn’t like your heat! Coming from high up in the mountains of Tibet they like it cold, I’m pushing it trying to grow them here in the shade. The colour is so fantastic, that’s why I’m persevering!

  14. The first of your blue poppies is stunning Pauline. I did not realize that blue poppies liked dry shade. Dry shade I can definitely do! I wonder where I can get some seeds? I will have to check my local nursery for them this weekend.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Jennifer, but they like moist shade not dry! I have read that if you buy seed from your local nursery it will probably be dead, they should be stored before sowing at temperatures of not more than 5C. The best thing to do is buy one plant and save the seed yourself, storing it in the fridge until it is time to sow it in Jan/Feb.

  15. Meconopsis Lingholm, I don’t have any in my garden. The photos are quite lovely; I just put them on my shopping list.

  16. Helen says:

    Can’t believe I missed this one – so lovely, this has to be one of the most amazing flowers. Your perseverance is definitely paying off. Recently I found out there is a much larger range of Mecs than I knew, and as we are going to Scotland on Saturday, I hope to pop into a nursery or two to pick up some plants to take home. There seems to be an Australian Meconopsis growers’ association, which really surprised me, so maybe it would be possible in Alabama as well?

    • Pauline says:

      You’re right Helen, there are lots of varieties of meconopsis, some don’t set seed so the only way of increasing them is by division. Lucky you to be in Scotland, you should certainly be able to buy some different varieties there. A good website for you to look at is I found it very helpful.

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