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.