Californian Poppy - Summer Sorbet
This is one of the best new colours to be introduced in recent years, with its mouth-watering combination of rose-pink outer petals, and a delicious creamy white centre. These dainty hardy annuals are tougher than they appear and positively thrive on poor, dry soils. The papery flowers attract bees and hoverflies, and make excellent, if short-lived, cut flowers. California poppies are easy to grow in beds and borders, or let them self-seed throughout gravel gardens to form natural drifts. Height: 25cm. Spread: 25cm.
Direct sow eschscholzia seed outdoors where they are to grow from March to May or in September for overwintering. Autumn sowings will flower in late spring. Choose a position in full sun on any poor, well-drained soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. Sow seeds thinly, at a depth of 1cm in drills spaced 15cm apart and cover seed with its own depth of soil to exclude light. Water the ground regularly, especially during dry periods. Germination usually takes 5-10 days. When seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out to 15cm apart. Alternatively, sow California poppies indoors from February to March at a temperature of 15-21C. When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant and grow them on in cooler conditions until large enough to plant outdoors. Gradually acclimatise eschscholzia plants to outdoor conditions when all risk of frost has passed before planting outdoors in any well drained soil in full sun. Water regularly until plants are fully established. Deadhead faded eschscholzia flowers to prevent them from self-seeding.