Somme poppies: collected from a French trench 10 years ago and seen here growing with wheat
As today is the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, an event I've delved into all too deeply in the course of my researches a few years ago, I'm posting up some pictures of the poppies which are growing in the garden at the moment. Starting with a photo of the French landrace (wild stock) I collected on the Somme, from the ditches of the British front line in the village of Serre, which was part of the Somme battlefield. I've already blogged the story of how I found them. I've had a 'thing' about poppies ever since.
And having looked through so many images of the First World War, it was quite weird today how the TV pictures of defeated England footballers with their slumped and heavy limbs looked uncannily like the photos of the soldiers who came off the fields of the Somme. You could read quite a few levels of symbolism into England's misfortunes and mistakes.
All these pictures have been taken in the last couple of days.
Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) grown from seed I collected on a disused railway line near Cheltenham station
This frilly-headed opium poppy with a white base appeared out of nowhere: it's a lacinatum-type and not quite like any of the other poppies in the garden. I might save some seeds from it to plant next year but I may not get another one like it because poppies are promiscuous outbreeders and it's likely to have cross-pollinated with all the slightly less interesting flowers surrounding it. Ha.
These three pictures are all of self-seeded field poppies (Papaver rhoeas) from the variety Mother of Pearl. The flowers often have rays of colour running through them that look like fine stripes.