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Papaver somniferum ‘Lauren’s Grape’


In my climate, it’s time to plant poppies.

Anything that likes cool weather (and poppies do) is better fall-planted in places where cloudy-cool spring rapidly sizzles into dry and hot.

Earlier, I wrote a post about ‘Falling in Love’ Shirley poppies. But while Shirley poppies are by a small margin my favorite, I love other poppies.  ‘Lauren’s Grape’ is one of them.



Even before the crumpled-shiny-wrapping-paper buds shed their green skins, the magic show starts. Poppies move: they open in day and close at night.



 Their stems snake around in unexpected dimensions.




 And they move around the world, not only because of their beauty, but because of their power. Lauren’s Grape is an opium poppy. (Somniferum means “sleep-producing”. Like Somnolent. And Sominex.) Opium, like all of life, has its bad and good sides. One of the good sides must be the incredible beauty of opium poppy foliage (I like it even better than Shirley poppy foliage; its smooth texture, its soft sea green).




A friend of mine gave me seed to a dark purple poppy much like Lauren’s Grape. (Due to disruptions of life, I don’t have pictures of that one.) His grandmother brought it over from Eastern Europe when she came to the United States.

 In those days – and when you were that poor – emigrating to the United States meant going off the edge of the known world, never to return. The things you took were your only link with home: forever. The seeds you carried were the ones you held most dear, the ones you couldn’t imagine life without. The ones that meant home.





{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Frances October 9, 2009, 1:51 am

    Hi Pomona, not only have you featured a beautiful flower, but the thoughts of a young woman going on a journey off the edge of the world and taking with her the seed of a beloved plant. Many plants came to the states, and elsewhere in this way and the battle of native versus exotic becomes moot in that wave of emotion. For as the docent at the Ladybird Johnson wildflower center in Austin asked our group at the first blogger get together, how many of you are full blooded native Americans? No one rose their hand. She then said we were all exotics. Food for thought. :-)
    ps. got off track there, we have just sowed our red saved poppy seeds, a gift from my dear departed neighbor.

  • BeWaterWise Rep October 9, 2009, 3:14 am

    Nice pictures of the poppies! They look good! I would like to share with you the watering calculator http://j.mp/qSl2y which will help to estimate the right amount of water that your garden or landscape needs every week. This will also help you save water.

  • Sylvia (England) October 9, 2009, 5:32 am

    Pomona, I love the dark colour of this poppy especially the contract with the green/grey leaves. Do you remember my black and white poppy from last year? It is flowering again! When I see it I think of you, but the weather is horrible here so it will not last long.

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  • Town Mouse October 9, 2009, 7:49 pm

    Those are beautiful! I so enjoy how poppies do the thing with the bud hanging down, then coming up. Should be fun in the spring.

  • Pomona Belvedere October 12, 2009, 1:43 pm

    Frances, I liked the non-native/native analogy.

    Waterwise, these are indeed water-saving plants, I time them to be watered mainly by rains but they do take some watering. I’ll be interested to check out your calculator.

    Sylvia, I do remember your black-and-white poppy vividly (you can see Sylvia’s guest post on it at http://www.tulipsinthewoods.com/bulbs/black-and-white-poppy/). Someday I will have a garden big enough for all the beautiful poppies. Your black-and-white one is so gorgeous.

  • Pomona Belvedere October 12, 2009, 1:44 pm

    Town Mouse, I get pleasure out of the buds raising their heads and bursting apart, too.

  • Mary Delle October 13, 2009, 5:29 pm

    Pomona, You’ve inspired me to try some poppy seeds this year. I’ve always loved the red ones. They’re so luscious. Your grape one is wonderful. Love the pod head also.

  • Susie October 13, 2009, 10:17 pm

    That is just flat-out the most beautiful color I have ever seen! Wow, Wow, Wow! Great story too.

  • susan morrison (garden-chick) October 14, 2009, 7:42 am

    What a wonderful color! And as others have said, the contrast of the flowers and foliage is spectacular.

    Finding myself wishing for a bigger garden lately.

  • Daffodil Planter October 14, 2009, 4:02 pm

    She’s gorgeous! Now, what do the deer think of poppies? Fuel for a deer party in the woods, or not of interest to them?

  • Kiki October 20, 2009, 5:51 pm

    Wow! These photos are stunning..I am in love with this color..I must have it now! Wonderful post!! I am smitten..gorgeous!

  • Lisa October 27, 2009, 1:25 pm


    I keep coming back to this page because I absolutely love the photos of these poppies. Wonderfully photographed and written! 😀

    Have a beautiful day, Lisa

  • lostlandscape(James) October 27, 2009, 8:19 pm

    I love the story of the poppy seeds that crossed the ocean as a reminder of home–proof that plants can be some of the most comforting things in our world! I sowed some P. somniferum seed last January but I saw nothing come up out of the ground. I should follow your recommendation and try them again with the leftover seed I still have. Some flowers like yours in my garden would really be great additions.

  • Cyd November 2, 2009, 1:01 pm

    This poppy is so very beautiful! I have never seen that color before, no wonder they cherished these. People get so weird about the somniferum seeds. They can be hard to come by.

  • Casey April 8, 2013, 5:24 am

    I just bought a “Drama Queen” & a “Lauren’s Grape” – no blooms yet, but i will keep watching every day! Gardening is a hobby of patience! Hope to get blooms soon, SO EXCITED

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