Garden Alphabet: Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale)

Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale)

2013 04 05 10 28 06

Another poppy this week in Garden Alphabet, but something quite different from our native California Poppy. In fact, as you can  see by the latin names, these poppies are an entirely different genus from the California variety.

The Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale) is probably more familiar to most people, as it is grown in many gardens throughout the US. The poppies in the photo were snapped at a local garden in La Cañada Flintridge I passed in my travels. 

Papaver orientale (Oriental poppy) is a perennial flowering plant[2] native to the Caucasus, northeastern Turkey, and northern Iran.[3]

Oriental poppies throw up a mound of finely cut, hairy foliage in spring. After flowering the foliage dies away entirely, a property that allows their survival in the summer drought of Central Asia. Late-developing plants can be placed nearby to fill the developing gap. Fresh leaves appear with autumn rains.

” —

More information on the Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale):

Previously in Garden Alphabet:


Photo: Popcorn via Instagram

2013 04 03 20 56 57

Photo: Agave via Instagram

Found along my consulting travels today.


Garden History: Tatham Garden

I originally grabbed this photo because it showed a lovely formal garden, but as I examined it more closely, I could see a lot that was wild about this picture, too. Yes, it has large lawns, stonework and a fountain, but looking at the edges it is also exuberant, with the beds threatening to spill out into the lawn at any moment. Maybe that is the goal of any garden — to maintain a bit of control but also expose the wilderness that could be.

The truth is, we only carve our gardens out of the wilderness for a small amount of time. I only have to look at properties in my neighborhood that remain empty for a short time. The lawn and garden beds quickly revert to weeds and saplings. Given a few months, I could see the entire property yielding to the overwhelming pressure of nature. Even more, this is here in the relatively dry and inhospitable San Fernando Valley. if you live in a more temperate climate, your lot could go from a cultivated garden to meadow to woodlot in just a year or so.

Tatham Garden [slide]

Tatham Garden [slide]

Creator: Van Altena, Edward
       Tatham, Edwin, Mrs
       Bedford Garden Club

Type: Projected media

Date: 1930

Topic: Summer
     Walls (building)
     Lavabos (Architecture)

Local number: NY054001

Physical description: 1 slide: glass lantern, col.; 3 x 5 in

Place: Tatham Garden (Somers, New York)

Persistent URL: ce=~!siarchives&uri=full=3100001~!183159~!0#focus

Repository:Archives of American Gardens

View more collections from the Smithsonian Institution.

Previously in Garden History:

In The Past: Planting Vegetables in 2009

I came across these shots from April 2009 in my feed today. I think it is always great to look back on what you have done and where you have been, both in your garden and in your life.

What was happening your garden 4 years ago, or last year, or yesterday? Share it below in the comments.

Planting vegetablesPlanting vegetables

Planting vegetables

Planting vegetablesPlanting vegetables

Planting vegetablesPlanting vegetables

Garden Decor: Japanese Garden Water Fountain

Japanese Garden Water Fountain

A lovely and heavily naturalized Japanese fountain. I love the way it fits in the garden and the contract between the dark stone and light-colored bamboo. There is another form of fountain that I also like called a “deer scare.” These fountains use the water to tip a piece of bamboo so it knocks against a stick or the basic each time it fills. This fountain could be easily modified into such a fountain, too, I think.

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Previously in Garden Decor:

Free Rhaphiolepis Desktop, Tablet and Smartphone Wallpaper for April 2013

Here is a selection of free wallpapers for your computer desktop or smartphone. Right-click and select Save Image As… to download them to your own computer. On your smartphone, click the image to see the full-sized image, tap and hold, then select Save to Camera Roll. You can then attach the wallpapers using your phone’s preferences.

Desktop Wallpaper

Download full-sized version

iPad/Tablet Wallpaper

Download full-sized iPad/Tablet wallpaper iPhone4/Smartphone Wallpaper

Download full-sized iPhone 4 wallpaper

iPhone5/Smartphone Wallpaper

Download Full-sized iPhone 5 Wallpaper

Previous garden wallpapers:

My Favorite Garden Things for March 2013

My Favorite Things

As always, let me know what types of interesting items you would like to see and I will keep an eye out for them especially. — Douglas

Links to all of these items, and more, are on my Pinterest Feed.

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Advice Needed: A Little Help, please! – Starting a garden allotment on Oahu

My friend, Chris, recently moved to the island of Oahu. He applied to get a garden allotment and got one long before he thought he would. Now he needs to get moving and is looking for some great advice from AGN viewers, listeners and readers.

If you can, offer some words of wisdom and help Chris get a good start on recovering and starting to grow on his plot.

The conversation is taking place on this Facebook thread, but if you don’t use Facebook, feel free to comment her on this blog post.

Here is Chris’ original message…

CJ Vapenik — A Gardener’s Notebook

Hello Douglas, and fellow gardeners! I have recently joined your fold by renting a community garden plot… Actually i didn’t think that would get it so fast. Perhaps a little background is in order (don’t’ worry it will be a very little). I currently live in central Oahu. Well produce is pretty expensive here (think $3 for a bunch of Kale) and so I thought i would get a plot on a community garden, i thought that i would be a 10’x 5′ raised box, but I got a 40’x 30′ plot the first day. Now I am in the deep end with no tools and little knowledge on the soil or the area. the questions I have are very basic, what do i need to Know/have/ do to get started? I have no tools. The ground is wild and uncultivated. I have trees to the south and the most sun in the east. I do have access to water, but not electricity. I tried to add a picture but might have to add them in a supplemental post. I welcome any wisdom that you can bestow on me. Mahalo!

Add your advice to the Facebook conversation or post as a comment here

Vapnik garden

Interesting Plant: Asparagus Pea (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)

Interesting Plant: Asparagus Pea (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)

Asparagus pea

Asparagus pea 2

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Interesting Plant: Asparagus Pea (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)

“The Winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus), also known as the Goa bean and Asparagus pea, Four-angled bean and Winged pea, is a tropical legume plant native to New Guinea. It grows abundantly in hot, humid equatorial countries, from the Philippines and Indonesia to India, Burma, Thailand and Sri Lanka. It does well in humid tropics with high rainfall. There are also varieties that can be grown in most areas of the U.S..

The winged bean plant grows as a vine with climbing stems and leaves, 3–4 m in height. It is an herbaceous perennial, but can be grown as an annual. It is generally taller and notably larger than the Common bean. The bean pod is typically 15–22 cm (6–9 in) long and has four wings with frilly edges running lengthwise. The skin is waxy and the flesh partially translucent in the young pods. When the pod is fully ripe, it turns an ash-brown color and splits open to release the seeds. The large flower is a pale blue. The beans themselves are similar to soybeans in both use and nutritional content (being 29.8% to 39% protein).”  —

I had never heard of the Asparagus Pea until last Saturday night during the Wisconsin Vegetable Garden Google Hangout. Carol and Kerrie from the Seed Keeper Company mentioned that this was one of the new plants they were growing this year. After my reading about the plant, it seems an amazing thing to grow. I might have to check it out myself, even with my well-known aversion to peas in general. Perhaps this is different enough to find a way into my diet.

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More information on Asparagus Pea (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus):


Previously in the Interesting Plant series: