Sunday, January 7, 2018

Shirley poppies

I don't live in the North but it sure feels like I do right now. Thankfully today was the last really cold day. Last night temps dipped down below 5 degrees F. It's like living in Pennsylvania again. The power flickered on and off all morning as the grid strained to supply everyone with power. We got a little snow on Wednesday, about 1/2", although Southern Pines (about an hour south and west of here, in the Sandhills), got 6".

The cold has curtailed most garden activities, which in winter consist of cutting back the honeysuckle, jessamine, greenbriar, and grape vines that grew up in the roses over the summer and potting up 'Miss Bessie' divisions to go in the field up top.

The prairie roses in particular are a mess. There is a lot of honeysuckle, jessamine, blackberry canes and young sumac trees in the roses and a lot of deadwood under the live canes. Winter is the best time for this type of work because it's no fun doing it in short sleeves and leggings. Nevertheless, I usually have to do some cleanup before the roses bloom in June because honeysuckle grows a quite a bit even during the winter months and then of course really takes off in the spring.

After the weather warms up tomorrow I'm going to put out some poppy seeds. I forgot to order them this fall, and usually put them out at intervals over the fall and winter because you never know when conditions will be right for them to get started. I ordered a few packets of 'Angels Choir', a selection of doubles, and 'Mother of Pearl', a collection of singles and semi doubles. Both have shades of peach, soft orange, coral pink, rose pink, lavender, gray, gray pink and white with bicolors and picotees. (Picotee refers to a flower with light-colored petals edged with a darker color.) There's also a few single reds, the poppy's wild type.

After a gap of many years I've had poppies in the garden the last 2 years and thoroughly enjoyed them. These bloomed last May.

They make good companions to beardtongue and Carolina bush pea.

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