On our small ranch, poppies rule. We’ve encourage them whenever and wherever they sprout. Now they are everywhere.
I wish you could view the parade on an Imax screen. Even on a teensy phone screen, though, flower power vibes sync up with the rhythm of my heart.
The parade starts with red poppies Papaver rhoea. Later, you’ll see Hungarian bread seed poppies Papaver somniferum, then our famous gold cup Eschscholzia californica.
The petals above are pink-red and the petals below are pink with white edging, but they are also the same variety as red poppies Papaver rhoea.
Bees harvest pollen from many flowers–in this case they are mostly red poppies. When bees deposit that pollen on other red poppies, new genetic variations develop inside new seeds. The next spring, when those seeds sprout and bloom, previously hidden recessive genes show up in some of the new plants. The new season’s blooming fashion runway show reveals extraordinary dressy outfits.
Hungarian bread seed poppies Papaver somniferum also reseed themselves, but unlike red poppies, they are always purple.
After blooming, the pods form.
Handsome round pods are prized for bouquets to share with friends.
Eschscholzia californica, our state flower, is valued far and wide.
After the golden petals fall off, a long, green pod forms.
To encourage future California poppies, let the pods bake in the sun. The seeds plant themselves.
Generations of natural reseeding create wondrous scenes. We visited California’s poppy preserve near Victorville at sunset as the flowers were tucking themselves in for the night.
Poppy parades are stunning, but they don’t last long. Seasons roll along until the first poppy leaves once again greet the spring.