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meconops - those fugitive blues

Posted by campanula UK Cambridge (My Page) on
Sat, Jan 25, 14 at 7:29

Oh yes, I have tried (and failed) to grow these evocative beauties. Unsurprisingly, they never thrived in a sunny alkaline east anglian garden but hey.....am growing in shade now, with a moister soil (although not, sadly, on the acid side). Am being sorely tempted again to try these fabulous poppies. Have heard that Lingholm (M x sheldonii ) is a true perennial along with some such as M.grandis and possibly the harebell poppy, M.quintuplinervia.
Obviously, the easy little welsh poppies are practically a weed but it is those blues (and even the pale primrose and white M.regia and M.paniculata) I crave like a snivelling addict.
Anyone grow these well?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: meconops - those fugitive blues

I get my blues fix with plants like Anchusa azurea.


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RE: meconops - those fugitive blues

My horticulturalist friend, David Tomlinson at Merlin's Hollow, Aurora, (southern) Ontario has grown them yearly, for years. His main motivation is the challenge.

He says that what does them in, here, is our high summer humidity.

Our easy routes to long-lived blue include monkshood and gentians. Below, no challenge at all, Arend's monkshood, October 20. last year. There's not many perennials left in flower here by then.

This post was edited by SunnyBorders on Sat, Jan 25, 14 at 23:04


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RE: meconops - those fugitive blues

Very few areas outside of their native locale CAN grow these tempermental beauties easily - parts of the UK, the US's Pacific Northwest and Alaska are among the few. They are not the slightest bit tolerant of hot summers, so that removes them from successful growing across much of the US.

Even in my very mild summer climate these are challenging plants and are most often treated as annuals. Not because they won't winter over but because many seem not to perennialize well and peter out after a single season. Of course, some species/hybrids are moncarpic as well.


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RE: meconops - those fugitive blues

Yes, my horticulture lecturer used to opine that the true test of a gardener was being able to grow either the blue poppies or the giant lilies (cardiocrinum)....both of which hale from the same area (Himalayas) and have an abiding resonance for UK gardeners.
Thanks Gardengal, I had often wondered why there never seemed a great deal of interest in Meconopsis in the UK.....when we are all busting our balls to grow them in the UK.
Still, I intend to make a few peat beds for ramondas and haberleas and such, so will be attempting these fabulous plants in a bit of woodsy shade.....and have also decided to bite the bullet and actually buy a couple of plants, rather than my usual seeds.


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RE: meconops - those fugitive blues

I have attempted both the Himalayan poppies and the giant lilies and the lilies are a piece of cake compared to the poppies!! In fact, the lilies are rather common in my area, provided you have a nice, richly soiled shade garden and plenty of patience :-) And they are indeed majestic when they bloom with 8-10' tall stems of big fragrant flowers.


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RE: meconops - those fugitive blues

  • Posted by maet z5 NL, Canada (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 26, 14 at 22:31

meconopsis in my garden in 2009. Bought 2 plants in 2008, one died after a couple of years and the other one is still thriving and blooming in the spring.


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RE: meconops - those fugitive blues

Maet, that is beautiful! I think true blues, either light or dark, are the elusive colors many gardeners crave. So many of my 'blues' are more purple in tone. But your meconopsis is truly lovely.

Of course, you're in Newfoundland where the climate and moisture are optimum, whereas I'm in Z6--- actually pushing Z7. Still, I do covet this plant. So what is your secret....do you grow it in more shade as others have suggested? ... is it established in a moist area? This plant appears to be up against a structure. Perhaps that provides security, rather than its being exposed in the center of a garden?

Campanula is correct in that many gardeners (like me) crave what really shouldn't survive in our yard or zone. The closest I could come to the desired 'blue' is with Spiderwort and Brunneria, which I have on the northern side of the house.

Molie


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RE: meconops - those fugitive blues

  • Posted by maet z5 NL, Canada (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 21:17

This is a photo of where it is planted now. Its by the hydrangea but it was originally where the hydrangea was. I moved the hydrangea to that spot a couple years ago and moved the meconopsis further to the left. Its a couple feet from the fence. it is shaded a bit by the fence. the fence is on the south side of the yard and the flower bed is shaded a bit. I think I got that right. The sun never shines directly on that flower bed.


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RE: meconops - those fugitive blues

Great to see the whole bed and to know the orientation. Plus, you have some lush clematis growing there --- what a lovely spot. You did get it right! And you've given me something to think about as I consider my own yard.


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RE: meconops - those fugitive blues

Lingholm are soundly perennial ( but fleeting in bloom) while a few of the sterile group are reliably perennial too (although expensive because they can only be vegetatively propagated). Even some of the monocarpic ones have such glorious evergreen (or gold, rather) foliage....and once they do flower, they set tons of seed.

Yes, I feel the madness coming on again.


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RE: meconops - those fugitive blues

Growing Meconopsis in a climate that is not suitable for them usually leads to disappointment. I succeeded in getting some in flower in my Dutch garden (climate reasonably similar to Cambridge, UK) but the colour wasn't the fantastic blue you see in many pictures but a wishy-washy blue with some purple-pink streaks. This colouring is caused by too high a temperature. Also the flowering period was very short. I think there are better garden plants.


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