Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Meconopsis gracilipes. This is a herbarium specimen photographed at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh Herbarium. It is effectively a Meconopsis Dhwojii without the purple pigment at the base of the spines though it is actually rather more delicate. It is still available occasionally in seed exchanges and normally is happy in the open garden unprotected in winter. 

Monday, 23 February 2015

Josef  Halda is a plant collector from Czechoslovakia.
 His ADDRESS is Josef J Halda PO BOX 110, 501 01, Hradec Kralovce, Czech Republic. 
He sends out an annual seed list from plants flowering in the wild. This year's list includes 7 really wonderful Meconopsis as well as a lovely collection of Primula species from high altitude from the same area, much in China. They are mostly about 5 Euros. I have often used his seed before and he does us a great service and the germination is always good. 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Meconopsis grandis. The real big blue poppy. There are 3 subspecies defined by Grey-Wilson in his new monograph as well as their relationship with other 'Blue Poppies' as it it is widespread across the Himalayas. This will need a genetic analysis. HOWEVER for people who just want nice big perennial blue poppies in their garden there is a simple, reliable and relatively easily obtained solution. There is a lovely hybrid between M. grandis and M. betonicifolia called M. x sheldonii. As a hybrid it was infertile and thus could not be grown from seed only propagated vegetatively. In a garden in the Borders some-one noted what looked like a fertile seed pod on one plant. This gave gave rise to the plant called LINGHOLM. Later I found one in my garden and called it  KINGSBARNS HYBRID. We now know these are both tetraploid with 2 sets of each chromosome and this means at cell division the proceedure is successful and fertile seed is set. Kingsbarns Hybrid is a shorter plant and the flowers can have reddish tones, even in acid soil while Lingholm is normally taller and a good blue. IF YOU WANT TO GROW BIG BLUE POPPIES IN YOUR GARDEN EVEN IN AREA WHERE MECONOPSIS ARE DIFFICULT just grow           LINGHOLM

Seeds of Lingholm are occasionally offered by commerce but the Alpine Garden Society, Scottish Rock Garden Club and the Meconopsis Group all have seeds available annually and produce a list. With certain restrictions, an allocation of seeds can be sent abroad. 
Above Lingholm in Caithness. Below Kingsbarns Hybrid.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

  1.    Meconopsis gracilipes. This is really a Meconopsis dhwojii without the purple pigment blotches at the base of the spines and it is slightly more delicate than that species. It was not offered in either the ALPINE GARDEN SOCIETY seed list or that of the Scottish Rock Garden Club this year but it is still in cultivation. This is not difficult to grow from from seed but to collect viable seed of scarce species I would hand pollinate. This is an image that was sent to me.
Below is a herbarium specimen I photographed at the Royal Botanic Gardens Herbarium at Edinburgh helped by Alan Elliott

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

There are many Meconopsis that have evergreen rosettes that gradually enlarge over two to four years and then throw a flowering spike which blooms from the top down. The winter rosettes are possibly the best feature. We shall come to Meconopsis gracilipes later. This is very similar and equally attractive as a rosette but does not have the purple pigment at the base of the spines. Once again you need at least two plants to produce seed and as this will hybridise with other rosette species it needs keeping separate. The hybrids are often sterile so you lose the species. Not difficult but maybe in wet areas a glass pane will keep it safe from crown rot.