It would not be an exaggeration to say I have a passion for poppies in general, as I make space in our garden for yellow and orange Welsh poppies, several varieties of the oriental species, peony poppies in shades of red, pink, white and black, as well as many kinds of annual poppies.
Amongst the latter, I grow Ladybird, Danish Flag, Fairy Wings and the magnificent black papaver somniferum. Their oriental sisters, some single-skirted, some double, come in pastel hues of white and pink, as well as plum. Even more dramatic, the pillar-box red ones, growing here in profusion, form the hallelujah chorus of our garden.
For me, poppy petals hold their own merits, some like the diaphanous wings of a butterfly, others resembling tissue paper, while those of the double-petalled orientals are like the skirts of Spanish dancers doing a fandango. Each, though ephemeral, is given house-room, each beautiful in its own individual way, each making my heart sing. But, if I had to, I would forfeit them all, without a moment’s hesitation, for a fleeting glimpse of the annual cornfield poppy.
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