Thursday, June 11, 2015

Positively Passionate about Poppies

I love poppies, and I've got some gorgeous Oriental ones in full bloom at the moment. Their brilliant orange leaves remind me of thin sheets of crepe paper. Indeed, these specimens are huge. 

The ovary is such a pretty purple color that is quite a contrast to the petals. Drew mentioned that he has never seen so many stamen around the ovary before. The blue colored pollen almost seemed luminscent under my ring light.

There was also a gorgeous flower bud almost ready to open, as well as several other buds in different stages of development. I love the hirsuteness of the sepals, with the flower folded up inside. The hairs protect the flower from hungry insects. As you can see, the sepals are slowly splitting apart to reveal the flower. Soon, they will fall to the ground as the flower unfurls.

And, lastly, I found this tiny cricket, not yet identified, crawling around on the outside of one of the flower petals. I have seen this cricket, over several days time, in and around all parts of the flower. I guess this is its home for now.

I should have measured it, but the cricket is super small at around 1 to 1.5 cm long. I used a 100 mm lens to photograph it, and wished that I had attached some extension tubes onto the lens. But, the wind was blowing, and cars were driving by, so the flower was moving around quite a bit. In order to get a good photo, I would have needed absolute stillness.

Note to self:  Last fall, I planted five more bulbs (Breck's Colourful Oriental Poppy Collection in scarlet, orange, plum white, and pink) in my different gardens, and I have found new foliage for one in the main stump garden, one in the secondary stump garden, and one near the utility pole. I am missing two. Supposedly, I planted one in the main sun garden and another in the utility garden. Hmmm... I'll have to look more carefully. I don't think that the new plants will bloom this year, but I am happy to have found their foliage! I may have to move a couple of them as they are being crowded out by other perennials. We'll see...