By mid-October spring is becoming early summer and the variety of flowers and fresh greens is overwhelming. This is the time of the opium poppies – Papaver somniferum – which came to the garden many years ago and if left unchecked can completely swamp everything else. They are huge, glaucous-leaved, and carry flowers the size of tennis balls with hundreds of ragged petals, looking like the crepe-paper flowers used to decorate procession floats, and in a strident flat pink to boot. Not, you might gather, my favourite flower. But impressive none the less and greatly appreciated by most visitors. Occasionally one would revert to being single – usually because it was too puny to double-up. I found it charming and started saving seed; gradually their numbers increased. This year, suddenly, the garden is full of huge singles in a much softer and subtler pink, with big mauve-grey blotches and the wonderful poppy structure of the flowers exposed. I pat myself on the back and pick it – here with cornflowers – to represent this voluptuous season!