Well! Last winter I spread a ton of Icelandic poppy seeds in my back yard. In fact, I do this every year, and until this spring, none had ever germinated. So this year, I have over 100 plants. However, only 6 are Icelandic poppies. Another 4 are Oriental poppies. All the rest are opium poppies. And among those, some are your normal red ones, some are orange, and some are these strange peony-shaped red poppies. I slit the pod of one this morning, and it sure looks like opium sap. My garden is never quite what I expect it to be! But this surpasses the surprise tulips that appeared last year — about 2 dozen throughout the back yard, none of which I planted. Strange….
I’m told the squirrels like to re-landscape, especially with the tulips. I do have some out front, but not the same variety as in the back. The front ones were planted by the previous owner about 7 years ago, he thinks. They bloomed for the first time 2 years ago, so he may have planted them too deep. But he claims he did not plant any in back.
One of the backyard surprises may have come from a neighbour two doors down. It was quite distinct — pinkish white and frilly. When the neighbour was visiting last year, she exclaimed, “That’s what happened to my tulips!” Well, it was just one; she had planted a dozen. But still, that was probably the source. As for the others….
And in another surprise, the blue flag irises (versicolor) I planted last fall have finally bloomed…but they turned out to be iris domestica, aka, blackberry lily. Sigh. And I got them from the North American Native Plant Society, so I’m a bit surprised at the mixup. I don’t think they converted themselves, unlike the hybrid yarrow I planted 2 years ago that has this year turned into plain old yellow yarrow. But who knows? The climate in my little part of town has changed so much over the years, plants that once flourished are dying, and vice versa. Earlier in the season, I had a clump of red clover that stood over 4 feet. Previously, it never got over a foot. And my lovingly tended patch of wintergreen is toast due to weeks of 80F+ humidity and unanticipated sun. (Last month, my neighbours cut down 3 evergreens that previously shaded my yard.) Gardening seems to be turning into an extreme sport!