Peggy and I are continuing to hike around our five acres and the Rogue River–Siskiyou National Forest that abuts the back of our property. It serves as a form of entertainment and exercise during our ‘sheltering at home.’ On Monday I featured white oaks with personalities. Today I had picked out ten flowers to feature but the California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) growing down our hill in ever-increasing abundance demanded their own post. These guys produce a gazillion seeds (something like 100,000 per ounce) and are a bit aggressive. Since they are invading territory previously occupied by star thistle— in serious competition for being the world’s most obnoxious plant— we encourage them to invade away. Go, poppies, go!
Ring around the rosy, a pocket full of posies…
Remember this rhyme from your childhood? London Bridge is falling down. I don’t remember anyone telling us the grim story behind it in the second grade, but it isn’t totally irrelevant today. The ditty was created during the time of the plague and the rosy was a red spot on a person’s body that indicated that he or she had caught the dread disease. A pocket full of posies were a pocket full of flowers and herbs that the individual hoped would keep the disease away.
The posie evolved into a small bouquet of flowers that could be warn in a person’s hair, fit into a lapel, or placed on a dining table. I’ve further adapted it to mean all flowers. Thus, pretty poppy posies. It’s good for alliteration. As for the plague, if our California poppies want to keep covid-19 away, we won’t complain. They are, after-all, said to have several positive medicinal benefits including managing pain, anxiety, and insomnia, which sounds pretty good, given our present pandemic.
If this also sounds like heavy-duty drugs, you might recall that the California poppy’s distant cousin, Papaver somniferum (which translate as the poppy that brings sleep) is the opium poppy. Derivatives of opium include morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and heroin. Used properly they bring relief from pain. Used improperly, they are all sorts of bad news. Just think of the hassles that Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, and Toto had when they crossed over the opium-poppy field to get to the Emerald Palace. Snore. Fortunately Scarecrow and the Tin Man didn’t suffer the affliction.
You’ve probably sampled the opium poppy. And I don’t mean that you are shooting up heroin. Its seeds are included in muffins, on bagels, in salads, etc. While the trace amounts of opium aren’t enough to get you high or lead to addiction — although I confess to an unnatural fondness for poppyseed muffins— they are enough to disqualify you for the Olympics or possibly get you fired since they show up in drug tests. “But Coach, I was just eating a poppy seed muffin.” Right.
California poppies don’t have the same package of alkaloids that opium poppies do, but what they do have is enough to discourage deer from eating them, which is the number one criteria for range-free flowers at our place. And that certainly seems to eliminate a lot of pain, anxiety and insomnia for us. So maybe the claims made by the herbalists are true.
But enough on that; it’s time for the pretty poppies posing part of this post!
FRIDAY’S POST: The rest of the interesting and gorgeous flowers that Peggy and I have found hanging out on our property and in the national forest.
42 thoughts on “Pretty Poppy Posies Posing… A Walk on the Wild Side: Part 2”
There can never be enough poppies in the world. We’re feeling very disappointed not to be out travelling locally as the poppy season will soon be at its peak and all we’re seeing is a few in the verges of roundabouts 😦 Yours are fabulous.
Yes. I’ve never met one I didn’t like! 🙂 Hope you guys are surviving okay. Can’t help but think that there will be a massive demand for your services once the pandemic goes away! Take care. –Curt
Funnily enough after a quiet time, the phones are red hot, with calls about puppies 😂. We’re also gearing up for bigger trips through Europe, so things are building up steam.
Who wouldn’t want a puppy to get them through sheltering at home? 🙂 I got a dog hug the other day and I am still feeling good about it! Glad to hear your business hasn’t suffered too much! –Curt
Poppies spring up all over our yard, but not as we approach winter. Enjoy.
Yeah, they don’t have much of a sense of humor about winter. 🙂 I am impressed with how long their growing season actually is however. One of the first up and last to shut down. –Curt
How beautiful! 🧡🧡
Thanks! 🙂 –Curt
To be honest, these were the only wildflowers I enjoyed when I lived in California, but they also were the only wildflowers I noticed, back in the day. They certainly command attention — how lucky you are to have them.
You’d pretty much have to be blind not to notice poppies in California! 🙂 Or around here, Linda. They really like this climate. And yes, we feel lucky and are glad they finally decided to take off. –Curt
I have a wildflower border (which Kim tells me I will live to regret) and the poppies are about to burst into flower. Red I think.
So Kim thinks you will live to regret your wildflower border, eh?. They can get a little rambunctious, Andrew. 🙂 But they can be beautiful and fun. Let me know how it goes. –Curt
There is always weed control Curt!
It works. 🙂 Not so easy on star thistle, Andrew, which came over with on sheep from Scotland in the 1800s and has been madly propagating ever since!
One of the dangers of interfering with nature Curt.
So true. Don’t mess with Her!
Poppies are beautiful! They remind me of the show Ozark – have you seen that on Netflix yet?
Haven’t seen it, Pam, but I assume they have lots of pretty poppies. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I jumped to you site and found beer. Had to follow. 🙂 –Curt
Ha! Well, the poppies on the show are beautiful, but are also those used for all kinds of drugs!
That’s an opium poppy for you! I wonder if the folks who harvest them ever stop and say, “Wow, these poppies are so beautiful I feel bad about cutting them down!” Probably not. 🙂 –Curt
If they are that hearty, maybe even I could grow them! (I doubt it, but what the heck).
Poppies are pretty easy, G. Once they decide to take off. It took ours 3-4 years after we planted them. 🙂 But once they get going, watch out! Do they like Florida? –Curt
I have NO idea! hahaha
Laughing. I see that plants aren’t your thing, G.
I love ’em – they just don’t usually care to live by me!
Our travel schedule doesn’t accommodate plants all that well either, G. But Peggy knows how to go buy new ones. Grin. Beyond that, we try to buy the hardy, minimal care type. Drought resistant is important around here!
As a former Californian (Oakland and West Sonoma County) I have a great fondness for the California poppy. (My husband even spent time breeding them, to encourage the rare form, the white poppy.) As a current Michigander, I am in a constant battle with star thistle (spotted knapweed.) Perhaps I could fight it with poppies? Hmmmm
I never drive through Two Rock without thinking of you. Of course, living in Oregon now, I don’t get down that direction nearly as often as I’d like to. White poppies? Did he succeed. The star thistle doesn’t seem to grow where the poppies are growing. Fingers crossed. 🙂 –Curt
He found that, even if selectively bred to be white, they often reverted to orange within a year or two. The white wasn’t stable or dominant. And I do miss Two Rock, even if this is decidedly home, now.
Heck, even I miss Two Rock (and the surrounding country) and I never lived there at all. 🙂
The red poppy used to grow amongst fields of wheat when I was living in Holland. This was before the days of weed killers. Now, one rarely sees them in the wild. Glorious photos, Curt.
Thanks, Gerard. We have really been enjoying them. There are lots of downsides with weed killers. I use them as little as possible. As for red poppies, weren’t they what covered the fields of Flanders? –Curt
Curt, your poppy photos are gorgeous. I’m orange with envy—the snow still lingers here and not even dandelions have ventured out yet.
Thanks, Sally. We are well into spring. In fact we are hoping for more rain. It looks like another dry season. A little snow would be welcomed. I am sure the dandelions will be there to see you soon. 🙂 –Curt
As for those dandelions … none yet but the leaves are ready for the salad bowl if one is so inclined!
And when the flowers come, dandelion wine? 🙂 I’ve never had any but I under stand that it is sweet. –Curt
Oh this is so beautiful. Much nicer than thistle plants.
Indeed. 🙂 Thanks Alison. –Curt
They are gorgeous! Thank heavens they’ll just keep spreading!
Thanks Gail. I spent a portion of my day tackling star thistle and are rooting for them even more! 🙂 –Curt
I’ve liked those orange California poppies since the first time I saw one, in Florence if I recall. We’ve attempted to grow them a couple times with limited success. I think they like more light than they were getting.
There is no doubt that California poppies love the sun, Dave. I went out and checked them yesterday in a rainstorm and they were closed up tighter than a clam! –Curt