Cover Story

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Oriental Poppies for Spring and Summer

An Oriental Poppy, currently residing in the garden of Penderite, Michelle Marsden, lights up our June Pender Post cover.  Not only is Michelle an avid gardener but also, as you can tell by the cover, she is a pretty darn good photographer. Michelle’s garden boasts a variety of “eye-catchers,” but in late spring and early summer, Michelle only has eyes for Oriental Poppies and their too brief association with spring in these parts. By the way, in our cover shot the poppies have cleverly chosen a background of lime oregano…looks good and sounds delicious.


Even on a good late spring or early summer day, these colourful blossoms don’t hang around long.  Their visit is more of a “Hi, I know it is late spring but I only have a few of days and then I’m outa here.”  Happily, they often have a second bloom later in the season.  Michelle modestly admits that Oriental Poppies are relatively easy to grow from seeds, but hastily adds that transplanting an existing Oriental Poppy plant is extremely difficult.


Oriental Poppies bloom in spring and early summer. They have bluish-green foliage that is hairy, thistle-like, and sometimes silvery. They grow quite tall, up to three feet (1 m.), and produce large, papery flowers, typically reddish-orange, but sometimes pink, white, or even bicoloured.


Despite their beauty, all parts of the Oriental Poppy are toxic to humans, dogs, and cats. The edible poppy seeds found in baked goods come from the opium poppy, not the Oriental Poppy.



I have used many of Michelle’s words in this cover blurb and in doing so, hope I have not hidden Michelle’s passion.  Everyone should have such passion, regardless of the target of that passion.

Mike Wiley