I was so certain that the roses would feature this week. But I think a longer post on my blowsy, rather unconventional approach to roses is needed; besides which, none of this morning’s rose pics, the first I’ve taken this second week of November, jumped out at me and demanded to be used.
So instead I present: Papaver aculeatum, the South African Poppy. It fills me with wonder that this obviously-poppy poppy is the only poppy indigenous to South Africa; is in fact the only poppy in the entire Southern Hemisphere. It is rare but quite widely spread, and can be either a soft orange like our local strain, or salmon-pink. I consulted Mark Griffihs’ “The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary: Index of Garden Plants” which to my even greater surprise lists it as native to both Australia and South Africa. How? When? I was quite prepared to believe that millenia ago a migrant bird brought a single seed from the North, and that developed into our poppy. But the same species in Australia? The only one there too? I must get an answer – is this possibly a mistake, or just another of the myriad questions nature dangles before us?
Our lovely display started as a single flower found wild on the farm. Over the years we have encouraged it in one spot, where it grows in the Lower Rosemary Border amongst the unfurling leaves of the marvellously coloured Canna ‘Phaeson’ , sometimes incorrrectly called C. ‘Durban’ . I think this year I must conciously harvest as much seed as possible. This plant is a treasure!