Welcome to the Enclosed Garden of Susan Ernst. Literal as well as figurative, this blog explores the physical gardens which I cultivate, the spiritual garden within, and the intellectual garden of horticultural knowledge gathered through decades of study, observation and practice. Come and sit with me for a while. Let us together marvel at the delicate, intricate beauty of a flower.
It is interesting that it is already November 12 and we have not had a frost. We usually get one the third week of October. The weather has been very dry. We haven't gotten any rain for about five weeks. A lack of moisture in the air may be the reason for the lack of a frost. It has been delightful to have flowers still in bloom and even reblooming. There is one yellow iris plant that has a big beautiful bud on it. Ready to open any day if the weather holds up. But after today, I don't think it will.
Here are the monthly photos for November plus a few more.
The cadmium red Field
Poppy, also known as Corn, Flanders or Red Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is a hardy annual plant that grows wild in fields
in parts of Europe such as Great Britain, France and Brussels.It is also cultivated in gardens and wild
The field poppy has been a
popular flower throughout history. Dried field poppies have been found in the
tombs of ancient Egyptian princesses.Their fleeting beauty has been immortalized in paintings by Claude
Monet, Robert William Vonnoh and other Impressionists, Odilon Redon, Vincent
van Gogh, and Georgia O’Keefe among many others. (I created a board on Pinterest to
gather copies of these paintings together into one location.)
The Field Poppy became a
symbol of remembrance in 1918 for the soldiers who fought and died in World War
I. Inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields”, American Moina Michael began
wearing a red silk poppy to honor those fallen soldiers. She campaigned to have
it adopted as a national symbol of remembrance and in 1920 the American
Legion did just that. This symbol was
also adopted by the Commonwealth Nations of Great Britain, Canada, Australia
and New Zealand. Red paper poppy flowers are sold and worn on Memorial and
Veteran’s Days in the United States and on Poppy and Remembrance Days in Great
As their common name might
suggest, Field Poppies are easy to grow. Select a sunny location with well
drained soil. Loosen the ground and scatter the seeds evenly over it. This is
best accomplished by mixing the miniscule seeds with sand. The seeds can be
purchased from some suppliers with a coating that makes them larger and easier
to sow.Water regularly and remove any
competing weeds. Sow the seeds in late autumn or early spring as they are cold
hardy and sprout as soon as the soil warms up. Remove the flowers and stems as
they fade to encourage new flower buds. This will extend the bloom time from
late June into August. At that time allow the flowers to go to seed and scatter
onto the ground. Follow this routine and you will have poppies year after year.
Besides the brilliant
shades of red – from cadmium to scarlet to crimson – hybrids such as the
Shirley Poppies will provide a range of colors from pale to deep pinks,
apricots, creams, mauves and whites that do not have the characteristic black
The Field Poppy, like all
poppies, produces a milky white sap, called latex. Unlike its relative, Opium
Poppy (P. somniferum), this sap does
not contain opium. It does contain rhoeadine which has been used as a sedative.
The seeds are sometimes used in baking as a substitute for bread poppy. The
flower petals have also been used as a wrinkle preventer as well as a dye for
wines, medicines and inks. The oil from the seeds is used as a medium for oil
Though the flowers last a
few short days, it is a joy to watch these plants grow. First putting forth
nodding buds on thin, wiry stems that open to brilliant color, they eventually
transform into ornamental seedpods. These can be cut and used in dried floral
arrangements and wreaths along with the seed heads of other wildflowers. A
perfect autumn centerpiece.