Plant of the Month

Meconopsis 'Lingholm’ - June 2017

Meconopsis 'Lingholm' K Keeton
Meconopsis 'Lingholm'
Woodland Garden (Area Q)
©K. Keeton
Meconopsis 'Lingholm' P Hawkins
Meconopsis 'Lingholm'
Woodland Garden (Area Q)
©P. Hawkins
Meconopsis glade K. Keeton
Meconopsis and Cathcartia
Woodland Garden (Area Q)
©K. Keeton

There is no doubt that the blue poppies are one of those ‘wow’ plants that everyone admires and desires. However, they are not the easiest plants to grow and are notoriously difficult to maintain in cultivation. We are very fortunate that we have a glade of these beautiful plants within the Woodland Garden in Sheffield Botanical Gardens. (Area Q on downloadable map)

The commonest species is Meconopsis baileyi which can be monocarpic in southern counties. It enjoys growing in lime-free moist soil in a cool atmosphere. These requirements mean that it can be seen thriving in Scotland and Cumbria. Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’ is the most widely available hybrid between M. baileyi and M. grandis, but there are a number of others, some of which are fertile and others which can only be increased by division. ‘Lingholm’ has larger flowers than M. baileyi (but fewer of them) and is a more reliably perennial plant. ‘Lingholm’ itself is not variable in colour but there are variations among the various hybrids. The Meconopsis Group has done a huge amount of work sorting out the various meconopsis. Because of its variability in colour this plant is now named within ‘The Fertile Blue Group’ together with four other cultivars.

The bed also contains several of the evergreen monocarpic plants which are nominally eitherM. staintonii, M. paniculata or M. napaulensis (hort), which is actually a hybrid and the staintoniis are sufficiently variable that they may be hybrids too.

The little yellow poppy, Cathcartia villosa, closely related to meconopsis, is also from the Himalayas and enhances the elegant blue poppies with its nodding flowers.

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