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This thread is in reply to a blog post by Meredith79 entitled "The Trouble With Oriental Poppies".
Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry
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LysmachiaMoon
Jul 6, 2017 12:24 PM CST
I have had trouble with Oriental Poppies too. I've found that they do best in fairly rich soil, with lots of humus/compost/leaf mold providing the "well draining" part. They won't do well on nutrient poor soil or soil that dries out quickly between waterings/rain. Nor will they do well on heavy clay (which is what my unimproved soil areas are). I think they probably like uniformly moist but not wet soil and it looks to me like they are fairly heavy feeders. I don't actively feed my poppies, but they do get a compost mulch every year or so. It took me a couple of moves before I found a place where my poppy finally thrived...that is in an area that receives full sun for part of the day, then dappled shade from nearby shrubs/trees. The soil is loamy with a lot of organic matter in it. Sometimes you just have to keep trying different locations until you hit on the right combination.

Also, I've noticed that it takes a couple of years for them to "get their feet under them." Once they establish they do well. But the first year can look pretty shabby. I'll keep looking around and see if I can find any more information that might be of help (to us both!). Also, as I'm sure you know, they do die right back to nothing in early summer. Mark where they are planted so you don't trample or overplant it. Usually in the fall, you'll see new growth peeping up.

I think one of the reasons we are having some trouble is that the perennial Oriental Poppies have different needs from the annual poppies...the annual poppies seem to like almost "barren" soil conditions... I've had them come up in the gravel of driveways and between flagstones in the walk. My latest passion is for the annual somnifer/opium poppies...I love those gorgeous pastels. I grew the traditional white last year and they did very well.

Good luck! I enjoy reading your journal!
The end is nothing, the journey is all.
Name: Meredith
New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
Region: New Hampshire Cat Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Keeper of Poultry Roses
Lilies Native Plants and Wildflowers Daylilies Bee Lover Irises Seed Starter
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Meredith79
Jul 6, 2017 12:29 PM CST
Thank you so much! I think you are definitely right about the afternoon dappled shade. The ones I have that do better all get a lot of morning direct sun but shade during the hottest part of the day. I think I will move the little ones I have in fall to a spot amended with compost and some dappled afternoon shade and see if they start growing better!
Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry
Image
LysmachiaMoon
Jul 7, 2017 7:10 AM CST
It's been my experience that there's a lot of INFORMATION on the Internet, but very little WISDOM when it comes to gardening. So often I read the same thing over and over again, in different places, but it's all just saying what someone else TOLD them. I had two big "awakenings": I was always TOLD that roses had to be in full sun. So I planted all my roses in full blazing sun. Then, by "mistake" I planted one in partial/dappled shade. That rose did far better than any in full sun. THEN I watched a video on the evolution/history of roses that pointed out that roses developed thorns so they could CLIMB INTO TREES. *lightbulb goes on*. ROSES LIKE the dappled shade that they would find around trees!

Same thing for ponds: Always site the pond in full sun. Then spend a fortune on filters, pumps, etc. to keep the algae down. Then I saw a BBC program that insisted put the pond in PARTIAL SHADE...and presto, no algae.

I always keep my ears/eyes open for the wisdom that comes directly from someone's experience. That's what I like about this site...you get to learn from other people's actual doing!

The end is nothing, the journey is all.
Name: Meredith
New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
Region: New Hampshire Cat Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Keeper of Poultry Roses
Lilies Native Plants and Wildflowers Daylilies Bee Lover Irises Seed Starter
Image
Meredith79
Jul 7, 2017 4:42 PM CST
Yes I totally agree! I try to put my findings out there for others. I remember when I first started gardening all the questions I had that I could never find answers for that eventually I figured out on my own over the years.
Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry
Image
LysmachiaMoon
Jul 8, 2017 2:36 PM CST
Smartest tip I ever got: You know how when you stretch a string where you want to dig out a new bed or something? I always had such a hard time getting the shovel lined up with the string for each cut or else I'd trip on the string and pull it out, etc. STAND ON THE STRING. My gum dropped out of my mouth D'Oh! ...I never thought of that! Hilarious!
The end is nothing, the journey is all.

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