MOVERS AND SHAK­ERS

Country Living (UK) - - Gardening -

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.

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