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Re: Poppies

Poster: Rutlands@aol.com

See commentary below-- James of Rutland

 Poster: Kristi Kelly <Kristi.Kelly@mci.com> 
 I have before me the Dutch Garden catalog and they are having special
 on Oriental poppies.
 What I would like to know is were Oriental poppies to be found in later
 period western European gardens?
 And if so, should I stick to the single color orange and red ones or
 would the bi-color one be found also?
  This is James of Rutland;  for what it's worth,  I looked in my 1633 Gerard
(facsimile) and he lists the opium poppy, the yellow horned poppy, and the
corn poppy.  Not the Oriental.   My own take on that is that they are post-
Period, but I have only the nonmention to go on.  
     On the other hand, if one is so disposed, the opium poppy SEED may be
sold and grown (FOR SEED) and eaten, LEGALLY in this country.  (Selling the
PLANTS is supposed to be ILLEGAL...Making opium, which is easily researched,
is illegal.   Go figure.)  These are period; Gerard mentions white & black
garden poppies (referring to  the seed color), and that "there are divers
varieties of double ((as well as single)) of both these kindes, and their
colours are commonly either white, red, darke purple, scarlet, or mixt of some
of these.  They differ from the former onely in the doublenesse of their
floures."  I grow Orientals myself, and the text & woodcuts show nothing like

For what it's worth, I would NOT buy Oriental poppies mail order at this time.
They will be going dormant for the summer anyway,  and will (guaranteed!) not
arrive in the best of shape if shipped now.   If you are so inclined, go to a
local nursery.  They should have the plants potted and in better shape;
generally you will pay more but the plants will be bigger.  They will go
dormant; be patient.  New leaves should emerge in mid September.   

     For those so inclined, the opium poppy is an annual;  seed of the black
double peony, frosted salmon peony, pink peony, white p., scarlet p., double
carnation poppy, "White Swan " poppy, rose fringed poppy, and "Heirloom" mixed
(all opium poppies)  are listed in the Select Seeds Antique Flowers catalogue.
180 Stickney Road, Union CT 06076-4617.  I got their 1997 catalogue; it was
$1.00.  Its great virtue is that it lists plants by date of introduction where
known.  The opium poppy is an annual; it's probably too late to sow it this
year.  --Hope this helps, James

P.S.  - to the List in general, this should have been a private response, but
I love talking about plants, esp. to a wide audience... J.
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