A close encounter – Blue poppies!

Alas not in the Himalayas, but fortunate to see them ‘in the flesh’ at Lost Horizons. Like from another planet, these fabled blue poppies are actually not true poppies. In the Fam. Papaveraceae, they belong to the genus Meconopsis, derived from the Greek mecon (poppy) and opsis (like): poppy-like.

Meconopsis grandis – the Blue Poppy, the national flower of Bhutan, was discovered in 1922 during a British Himalayan expedition to Everest.

Meconopsis grandis

Meconopsis betonicifolia (or Meconopsis bailey) – The Tibetan Blue Poppy, was discovered in 1913 in the gorges of Tsangpo River in Tibet by a British army officer, Major Frederick M. Bailey. Both were introduced in 1926 at the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual show, causing a blue-poppy- philia (corrected – thanks Jo Ann) that lasts through this day.

(click on any image to open the gallery)

My Staircase to Heaven

A while ago I wrote a post about more unusual Polygonatum spp. with the title: Solomon’s Seals are you kidding? in the desire to stop gardeners discriminate against them on the account of the name association with the Great Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum). But now I’ll have to go the other way and praise the big, tall and bold Solomon’s seals for what they truly are – magnificent architectural plants for the woodland garden. Unfortunately, I don’t have one, but even so I found a shady corner and planted one tall Solomon’s Seal: Polygonatum odoratum ‘Spiral Staircase’. It already displays, even at an early stage, its unusual disposition of the leaves.

Polygonatum ‘Spiral Staircase’ emerging in the stock bed

Look at the spectacular leaf arrangement around the stems – this is a plea for a name change! If Tony Avent from PDN can ‘hear’ me: it has to be changed to Polygonatum odoratum ‘Staircase to Heaven’. You can start climbing and stop when reaching it (i.e. the heaven). I bet there are lots of other Polygonatums there, and I don’t know from where they got it if not from Lost Horizons.

Polygonatum odoratum ‘Spiral Staircase’ last year at Lost Horizons

It is true that using the mail-order they could have obtained it from Plant Delight Nursery because Polygonatum odoratum ‘Spiral Staircase’ is given as their collection from Korea. It grows up to 2’, with the leaves disposed very close and the stems twisted, hence the spiral staircase impression; white bell-shaped flowers and blue berries in the fall.

But names don’t matter that much – ‘Spiral Staircase’ or ‘Staircase to Heaven’, this Solomon’s Seal (and not only) is a rare find and a beautiful addition to any woodland garden.