Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The first flower of a meconopsis for 2014. This is Meconopsis punicea and it is always very early compared to the other species I have in cultivation. I have only six plants to flowers this season and although on a really hot day they do open right up I always hand pollinate between any plants that are out. It is usually 3 or 4 days after they open that the pollen is shed and I pollinate with a soft paintbrush as long as there is any pollen still shedding. They must be insect pollinated in the wild and I have always assumed the long drooping flower is to keep rain off, since it must flower in a wet season in China. It is an extra-ordinary colour for a 'blue poppy' and my favorite.
I have done very badly with my seed sown Meconopsis. I have already been rescued with trays of Meconopsis punicea to prick on (all done). Yesterday I traveled up to home in Scotland via a friend, Jeanie Jones from Dumfries. She has traveled very widely in the Himalayas and I met her when I went on an organised trip to Yunnan a few years ago. She is the most green fingered person I have ever known and has a huge range of wonderful plants and almost countless pots of seedlings. Her speciality is Primula with a long list which she has seen in the wild. She gave me all sorts of Meconopsis that I had lost and these are all now pricked on. So my sins have been forgiven and I can replant the 'peat garden' with all the different species that I love to have.