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Poppies In Autumn

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Mid to late summer my poppies die back. After a spectacular spectacle of color, they wither and brown until I’m tired of seeing their ugly stalks and cut them to the ground. Any stalks with seed pods are carefully cut, the pods emptied out over a dish, and the empty pods saved for dried flower arrangements. The pods are not very pretty unless spray painted, but have very interesting shapes. The seeds from Papaver oriental (perennial) are saved for more plants, those from Papaver somniferum (annual) are saved for use on baked goods, plus a few a hopefully spread around the garden for next year’s poppies.

Since the plants are quite large, they leave gaping holes in the garden’s symmetry. Luckily other plants can be grown close to them to fill the space, but there are still a few weeks of transition where the view isn’t so pleasing. In September the dormant roots send up new leaves that form small mounds until hit by several really hard frosts. Their green is welcome at this time of year, and a good sign that the poppies will bloom next summer.

papaver Poppy leaves in fall

 Rhobin’s Garden Blog 
Gardening in Northern Michigan