Poppies

Sow these beautiful varieties of the field poppy for some quick colour 

The field poppy is forever associated with the feilds of Flanders, where it sprang into life in the disturbed soil, creating vistas of blood red flowers.

Although there are about 19 species of poppy in the wild, the only annual poppy with which it could be confused is the smaller-flowered, long headed poppy, another British native.

The field poppy and its varieties are easy to grow, hardy annuals to place in borders where their short lived flowers are produced for several months.

They can be sown in patches in mixed borders for some quick colour or sown with other annuals such as phacelia, larkspur and English marigold to create a wildflower meadow.

Being a hardy annual, seeds can be sown in September or in Spring, from March to May.

Where soil is heavy, seeds can be raised in cell trays and planted out 20-30cm (8-12in) apart. 

Poppies prefer a sunny spot and a not overly rich soil. When sowing direct in the garden, thin out the seedlings to 20cm (8in) apart as soon as they're large enough to handle.

If they're not deadheaded regularly, most poppies will self-seed, so you will have them in the garden for years to come.