MOVERS AND SHAKERS
Opium poppies (Papaver somniferum) are unbelievably generous with their seed and it is immensely satisfying to collect from their beautifully designed seed heads. As they ripen, the architectural pods turn from matt green to brown and little vents open up around the top, through which the tiny seeds can be poured. When dry, they rattle like maracas if you shake them, so you have an audible clue as to when they are ready. Simply snip the heads off, shake them upside down into an envelope or brown paper bag and the seeds will flow out in profusion. Cut them with a long stem and you can use the heads in winter flower arrangements. Pale pink double ‘Candy Floss’, inky double ‘Black Beauty’ and purple ‘Lauren’s Grape’ are particularly attractive varieties.