Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Winter Sowing Update - SUCCESS!

It finally happened! The first of the plants I winter-sowed earlier this year have started blooming! I posted months ago about my first attempts at sowing Knautia 'Melton Pastels'. They proved to be sporadic with their germination rate (out of 36 sown, only 4 sprouted). To make myself feel better, I decided to try sowing some other plants too, to see if I would have better luck with something else.

Browsing the seed racks at Portland Nursery, I decided on these Poppies (Papaver somniferum 'Himalayan Blue'). I have always loved poppies, especially their interesting, architectural seedheads. I just tossed them onto the soil and to my delight, probably had almost 100% germination rate! Unfortunately, they grew fast...really fast...and soon were way too big and floppy and had to be planted in the garden ASAP. In spite of their spindly little stems, they recovered quickly and started really growing in earnest. That was a month or so ago...and last week I noticed flower buds forming...woohoo!

papaver 6  364 papaver 12  370
Here are their nodding buds, ready to spring up One bud last night, with the capsule splitting.

This morning...ahhh...gorgeous! I walked out this morning to knock some rain of a few grasses, and suddenly noticed these amazing blooms! The color is nothing like what I expected (which, from the seed packet, seemed to indicate an ashy lavender color). These are rich, saturated red-purple...glowing grape with deep plum blotches at the base of each petal. I am smitten! I'm totally going to be saving seeds from these babies...and will let a few standing to seed around the same area as well. After seeing how easy these were to start, I'll definitely be scattering seeds for these all around the garden next year! Enjoy a few more pics below!

Oh...and the Knautia seedlings...they are doing awesome...and will be the subject of another post :-)

papaver 5  363 papaver 3  361

papaver 2  360


  1. When did you throw these out? I've had much less success with the same seed from the same company, following their own instructions.

    Anyways, I love this color and I'll be trying them again next year!

  2. Nice! I noticed the same thing with our poppies and last night's rain. It's like it was a magic poppy opening rain because this morning? There they were. I have planted a poppy twice in our garden, and have never had to again, thanks to their reseeding. You may just have them forever, now, and it looks like you selected a lovely one.

  3. I prefer the cupcake wrappers :)

  4. I agree with LeLo. You have them once, you'll have them forever. I grew them several years ago and they keep coming back. I will spread more seed though just to be sure. I love the deep purple variety called 'Lauren's Grape' named after Lauren Springer, garden designer in Colorado. Congrats, Scott. It feels great, doesn't it? :)

  5. Congrats! That's a very pretty poppy. I started mine from seed too. Isn't starting from seed the greatest? It makes you really feel like you accomplished something magical.

  6. Wow those are gorgeous! You and one of my neighbors are on the same wave length, I was just admiring theirs yesterday and today I noticed one of those cool seed-heads. Perhaps I'll be tossing a few seeds around myself next year.

  7. They are gorgeous. Don't you just love that winter sowing? I had a bunch of jugs out this past winter for things for my brother and a friend. It's great.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  8. Great job, you are like a proud parent....

  9. Oh happy day!! I love it when there are success stories in the garden. I plan on getting the seeds that Grace mentioned, 'Lauren's Grape', I love the poppies in the spring (that is when ours pop).

  10. Lovely flowers and a great color.

    Always Growing

  11. Lucky, lucky guy, with poppy time ahead of you. I've got about four kinds self-sowing, most of them finished flowering for the year. From seed to seedpod, poppies are one of the most exciting flowers.

  12. Thanks for reminding me that I don't have enough poppies.In my area of Norcal we throw the seeds around in fall, and hope we don't think they're weeds when they start to come up in winter.

  13. They are just lovely! Well done. I have some Shirley poppies coming along in the garden. No sign of blooms yet though.

    Happy Gardening!

  14. Stunning! I just sowed some poppies for blooms next spring. I hope I'm as successful as you! Congrats!

  15. Ryan: These are the ones I winter-sowed inside...I think in March...and planted out a month or so ago...the grew rapidly once they were outside. I have some I direct-sowed outside on the front of the house at the same time that actually are at the same stage, but totally stunted because all the perennials surged this spring and sort of overtook them. Next year, I'm just gonna broadcast the seed right into the garden in February or March...should get a similar result.

    LeLo: Totally...nothing like rain to make the garden come alive!

    Norm: hahahaha...next year!

    Grace: That's funny...I kind of wondered if these were 'Lauren's Grape' after seeing the flowers, they reminded me of those...which were the ones I originally wanted, but couldn't find seed of. Will definitely try to find some for next year!

    Alison: It's awesome...I really feel like I accomplished something!

    Loree: You should definitely do it...the flowers don't last long (maybe a week if you're lucky) but the seedheads are so striking.

    Sunray: It's so much fun...I do wish I had more space...as I don't really need the amount of plants I got...but I always find room somehow ;-)

    Beech Street Gardens: Hahahah...very much so! I wonder if I can bronze those seed pods ;-)

    Janet: Yay...we'll all have to compare notes on 'Lauren's Grape' next year!

    Jan: Thanks!

    Denise: Aren't they great...I'm totally enamored of them.

    ks: hahahahaha...that would be me too...I'm always scrutinizing new seedlings in the spring!

    Diane: I hope yours "pop" soon...those Shirley Poppies are lovely!

    NotSoAngryRedhead: Can't wait to see your results!

  16. I love purple opium poppies, the only problem is they always make me crave grape flavored candy... So pretty though!

  17. Splendid colour..there are so many forms around including ruffly doubles but i prefer the single forms!

  18. I came upon a similar sight a few days ago, having completely forgotten I'd sown any poppy seed. What a delight.

    While I'm here I should say that I thought I'd left lots of comments on your blog and that they were just awaiting moderation. I now realise I had a problem with blogger cookies (only affects comments pages that are 'inline' rather than pop-ups). So all my gushing about your beautiful plants/garden/photography will have been missed.

    Too busy to go through the blog again (perhaps in winter) but let's just says you are my favourite garden blogger! I love it most when you show plants in all their stages on one post.

  19. Via the damage as well as , nodules, our approach could be hoarse
    and as well , harsh-sounding. Nevertheless that he or she was getting the familiar one-and-a-half acquire at work in the end, Julien stated that
    your choice of decrease in hard cash to get dinners
    had been illegal. They arrives at Moscow target audience
    using an overland pathway away from China's websites that commonly final within years. In addition , motive for getting deficiency of disadvantage of my 1-cup coffee maker hailing from Aerobie reality almost certainly programmable-not as though Fine Decanter or glass design. The planet are certainly more peaceful and after that relaxing.

    Also visit my site ... commercial thermal coffee brewers