Meet My Yard: The Poppies!

Hello, over the last year or so we have planted a lot of things. Over 100 gladiolous bulbs that are just now starting to bloom, two elephant ears named Debbie and Frieda (one of which has already been injured), untold number of tulips, our fair share of wildflower seeds, and a whole lot of other stuff we have definitely forgotten about.

You could call it chaos gardening, I guess? But it’s controlled chaos for sure. We’ve even started building beds and butterfly circles!

The butterfly circle in our backyard is where the first *thing* in my yard that I would like to introduce you to lives.

My poppies!

I have always had a love for poppies because of my papa, who was a veteran and had a real affinity towards this flower for that reason. Even though I have complicated feelings about him now as an adult who has been done some work in therapy, it remains one of my favorite flowers.

I remember getting poppies from my papa after he visited the VFW and came home slobbery and sloppy, but proud that he brought me a gift. I hoarded them for a while, but they, like other of my favorite collections were ruined by the big coke collection explosion of 1997.

In case you didn’t know, fabric poppies with a wire stem have been used for decades to raise money for Veterans of Foreign Wars. One time when a coworker of Mickey’s who was a Veteran passed away. Instead of sending flowers to the funeral home, I stopped by our local VFW for some poppies, which we had on hand at the funeral to give to mourners to pin on their clothing as a remembrance. (If they wanted to, we didn’t, like, force them or anything.)

So, we plated a fuck ton of poppy seeds last year. Some of them were straight from the grocery store, even. I had read over and over that poppies are notoriously hard to grow, so I didn’t really expect anything to, uh, pop up.

Imagine my pure glee when this good buddy showed up right around Memorial Day this year:

I legitimately squealed (very loudly) when I saw it! Little did I know there would be many more buddies popping up.

Some of them were yellow even! And white! I had no idea these came in different colors. The white ones are so delicate, they barely lasted a day, so I was unable to get a photo. However, the yellow ones are more hearty.

In my experience, poppies in general are quite delicate. If you’ve ever seen a Buddy Poppy in person (that is what they call the fabric VFW poppies), with it’s thin fabric leaves and tiny green wire… that’s accurate. Like, they couldn’t be a more perfect representation of the actual flower.

It delighted me to see and I fear I may have exclaimed my delight too many times to Mickey and now he is sick of hearing it. But probably not… that’s just my brain being mean again.

It really is so cool, though.

So part of why I am writing this is to force myself to learn more about the plants I’m growing in the Professor Haus yard.

Okay, well, the first poppy fact is defintiely that you can make opium with one species of it. It’s the first joke so many folks make to me whenever I mention my poppies. No, I am not making opium. I just like this flower, okay?

Poppies can grow to be over three feet tall with a flower of nearly six inches wide. None of mine have reached quite that height yet, but they are so beautiful I literally do not care.

In the photo above you can see the stems still standing upright after the petals have fallen offa the flower. These stems are so sturdy, y’all. They are one of the few flower stems in our garden that end up untouched by strong wind gusts. It’s wild how delicate and strong they are.

So, those oval-y shaped things at the top of the stems is a pod where all the poppyseeds live. No, we’re not gonna eat them.

We’re gonna let them reseed themselves so that there are more and more and more and more every single year. I want ALL THE POPPIES, y’all.

I love the way they look like a flaccid penis right before they are getting ready to stand up erect and bloom. I realize that is crass, but can you think of any better way to describe how they look?!

Ooh, one final thing I learned about poppies, while watching Welcome to Wrexham of all things:

Wearing a poppy is offensive to some Northern Irelanders because it represents support for the British Army. They find it to be more of a way of celebrating the British Military and less of a way of remembering those lost in World War II.

So, that is what I know about poppies. What has your poppy experience been?


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