If it's the "wow" from flower power you are looking for, then Iceland Poppies (Papaver naudicaule) are just the thing for you. Planted in the autumn temperatures of April, they will help transform your garden into a winter wonderland.
While some gardeners are loath to buy seedlings when they can't see any blooms on the little plants, this shouldn't be a concern. Poppies offer their best when planted early in the season, soon providing blooms that will keep on appearing right through to late spring.
Cheerful additions to any landscape, there is a wide variety of poppies on the market. Striking new hybrids are available in mixed colours as well as in single colours for those with specific colour schemes and for pastel lovers there are lovely pastel shades. Poppies work very well with spring bulbs, as well as inter planted with low growing annuals like pansies.
Poppies love gardeners that like to pick for the vase - the more you pick them the more they flower for you. If you don't pick the blooms it's essential that you deadhead the spent blooms to keep them flowering.
•Do not pull seedlings out of the tray by their stem or leaves, as this will damage them. Rather push them out from below, as they have very sensitive tap roots - the less they are the disturbed the better.
•Don't bury the stems of the seedlings when planting, rather plant to the depth that they are in the seedling tray.Keep an eye out for snails when the plants are still small.
Information supplied by the Bedding Plant Growers Association. For more information please visit www.lifeisagarden.co.za