Papaver nudicaule/Icelandic poppies are old-fashioned flowers that welcome in summer seasons all around the world. They are one of my all time favourite cut flowers and are hitting the markets this month. Yippee! Glowing like stained glass when the sun shines behind them in the early morning or late afternoon they are such an optimistic looking beauties.
Not to be confused with opium poppies which are exclusively grown for their pods and seeds and, while both make beautiful flowers, the opium poppy blooms are larger and would not last as a cut flower.
Although their tissuey petals look delicate nodding on their wispy stems, poppies are fairly easy to grow so we normally have a pretty good supply of them at the Auckland markets during the mid spring – mid summer months.
Cultivated since ancient times for their beautiful blossoms, edible seeds or as medicine, poppies appear in mythology, poetry, and paintings, symbolizing everything from fertility and decadence to blood and memory.
To ensure longer vase life, seal the stems by burning the cut stem ends with a lighter before immersing them in water. Your poppies come from the market pre-seared but if you cut them when they get to you – you can quickly re-sear them and you should get 6 wonderful days out of them!!