Christchurch Mail : May 8th 2014
CHRISTCHURCH MAIL, MAY 8, 2014 27 Poppies blowing in the wind By RACHEL OLDHAM PLANT POPPIES It is the emblem of the RSA and a symbol of remembrance – the Flanders or soldier poppy, ‘‘Papaver rhoeas’’. And this year, to mark the 100th anniversary of World War I, we want you to sow poppies. Just grab a packet of seed and scatter them. It really is as easy as that. Soldier poppies grow like weeds – in parts of Europe they’re considered just that – and the seeds remain viable for many years. All it takes is a little soil disturbance – a farmer ploughing a field, for example – to kickstart germination. These are not highmaintenance flowers. You can scatter the seeds on bare soil or between existing plants, and once established, they’ll self-seed. PAY IT FORWARD ❚ Gardeners are traditionally a generous lot, and autumn’s the ideal time to swap seeds, take cuttings and share the love. Pay it forward: do a favour for someone else and hope the universe repays your kindness. I got the ball rolling earlier this year when, while selling bunches of my garden flowers at the local farmers’ market, a lovely Austrian girl asked if I knew where she would be able to find something similarly casual for her wedding... the next day. ‘‘Of course,’’ I said. ‘‘Come around to my place!’’ And so she did, and together we picked the flowers that she liked for a simple bouquet. Random acts of kindness cheer everyone up, don’t you think? ❚ Sharing plants is fun. It makes special memories and adds a personal touch to your planting schemes when you think of the people who gave the plants to you. ❚ Heirloom red-flowered broad beans are one of the treasures in my garden. I was given half a dozen seeds four years ago by Mark Christensen, from the Tree Crops Association, and I’ve been slowly building up my stocks. Then, when a garden club visited me this month, I told them to help themselves to a free plant – and one plant is all you need to start saving seeds. Broad beans are terribly promiscuous as well, so it’s best not to grow this crimson-flowered variety anywhere near their common whiteflowered cousin. ■ This column is adapted from the weekly e-zine Get Growing from New Zealand Gardener magazine. For a free sample visit getgrowing.co.nz or to subscribe visit mags4gifts.co.nz or call 0800 MAGS4GIFTS.
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