Okay, this is a post from an older blog, but I'm on the way out the door to my nephew's graduation open house and received a book contract two days ago for an August release date. (Check out my personal blog for my publication process updates.) Believe me, I need help! I'm a little harried. So here it is, my poppy story from last summer.
You know every seed is different from every other seed from basic biology class. Even though every plant in a field of corn, or wheat, or each pink petunia, might look the same to us, each plant has its own identity, a face as different as yours is from mine. Which means every packet of seed you plant contains the possibility of surprise, like finding a red green bean or a green sunflower.
In 2006 I planted some seeds for Papaver orientale 'Brilliant' from Thompson & Morgan Seeds. I selected the seeds for their orange bloom, and planted five pots in January, with plans to place them in my orange and pink garden later in the spring. (After all, you can only have so many poppies in a small garden!) Last year they finally bloomed. While two of the plants bloomed in slightly different shades of orange, and two had to be transplant so were set back and haven't bloomed yet, the fifth plant bloomed pink.
(Off topic: Have you noticed how difficult it is to photograph orange? It never seems to fit in with rest of photograph. Same with white and black.)
Both of these plants are huge, 40" plants with blossom stems reaching 48" and more, and luckily, the pink still goes in my pink and orange color scheme. Especially, since due to the poppy's taproot, it is nearly impossible to transplant once established.
Now, this could be a genetic change, but, what I suspect is more likely is that a seed from another poppy type somehow flew into the mix. However it happened, it was a great surprise!
Update: This year I had four pink poppy plants! The first one bloomed two weeks later than the other pinks, which bloomed before any of the orange poppies. When gardening always expect the unexpected!