It’s the time of year again when I can spot patches of brilliant red as I drive through the countryside! Somehow, it feels as though the poppy season is a little later than usual this year, but perhaps that’s my imagination…
A few years ago, there was the most brilliant display of poppies just outside the hamlet of Cabezac. Something had been grubbed up in a field and the following spring saw an explosion of poppies!
Papaver rhoeas is the latin name of the common poppy, also called field poppy, Flanders poppy or red poppy. It grows particularly well in recently disturbed soil, and hence it’s association with the churned up WWI battlefields of northern France. In Cabezac, the field had been ploughed, perhaps late the previous year or earlier that year, in preparation for a cereal crop or some such. If any seeds had been sown then, they had had no chance against the poppies – I saw no evidence of a struggling crop.
The field was so spectacularly red that many people stopped their cars by the side of the road and hopped out to take a picture or two. The snails on the post didn’t seem to be particularly fussed about the poppies or the passers-by.
I walked around the edge of the field, careful not to step on any poppies! I found this beautiful thistle which looks wonderful against the red background, don’t you agree?
There were also some marguerites:
Some of the visitors walked right into the middle of the field, perhaps thinking of Claude Monet’s Coquelicots (Poppy Field) form 1873, which shows a lady with a parasol and a child walking through a field. It’s a painting which has been reproduced countless times – I’m sure you’ve seen it somewhere! The original hangs in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.
Nobody carried a parasol the day I took the pictures, but there were many mobile phones in evidence!! 🙂
I’ve teased you long enough with my descriptions – here, finally, is the field in all its glory:
Something to think about: a single poppy plant can produce up to 400 flowers during its life cycle! If only some of the poppy flowers in the field produce seeds, there is a good chance that there will be another amazing display before too long.
And another thing to remember: poppy seeds can stay dormant for a very long time, until the soil is disturbed once more…