By Victoria Fuller
Lest we forget. In honour of Remembrance and Veterans Day we wanted to write a very special blog post today not only thanking those in past and active service for all that they have done for us, but also to shine a spotlight on the flower that everyone associates with this special day: the poppy.
The reason that we so heavily associate poppies with Remembrance day (or Veterans Day, or Armistice Day depending on where you are!) is a morbid one: Poppies were an incredibly common sight on the Western Front during World War One as they thrived in the churned up soil caused by the fighting and shelling. Poppies are an incredibly resilient flower and although they were thriving during such morbid circumstances many saw them as a symbol of hope and resilience. The popular poem “In Flanders Fields” (written by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae) pays homage to the sacrifice that so many made during the War and how that sacrifice led to the eventual beauty of the Poppies growing.
Growing Poppies is a beautiful and respectful way to honour those who have served to protect us, and as mentioned before they are an incredibly resilient and easy-to-grow flower that are a wonderful option for seasoned gardeners and novices alike! The Poppy mentioned in the poem “In Flanders Fields” is unsurprisingly known as “The Flanders Poppy” and is native to Europe, the most commonly grown type of Poppy in North America is the Celandine Poppy, a beautiful yellow-orange variety of the plant that thrives in our climate.
How to Grow Poppies
Poppies are a hardy annual that require very little care or attention. Sowing your seeds in shallow soil (less than ½ an inch deep) in the Fall will give you the best chance of success and ensure that your Poppies are in a position to get some sun (although partial-shade is best). Poppies do not require frequent watering (in fact if you water them more than once a week they have been known to grow “tall and leggy”) and have been known to “grow wild” if left unattended to, in fact chances are you will be removing and pruning more of the self-sown Poppies than worrying about why your Poppies aren’t thriving as these little fellows are known to spread out! In order to prune your Poppies you don't have to worry about being gentle, you can either remove the entire plant by the root or simply trim back the leaves and flowers that you would like to remove. We would recommend having a specific raised garden bed for your Poppies in order to keep them contained!
In conclusion, Poppies are a beautiful and easy annual to grow that can also serve as a gentle daily reminder of those who have given so much for us to have the freedoms that we have today.
We would love to see and hear about your Poppy growing journey! Please feel free to email us letting us know about any flowers or plants that you yourself are growing in remembrance.