May 11th, 2010
Papaver rhoeas ‘Angels’ Choir’

Papaver rhoeas Angels Choir
2010-05-11. Papaver rhoeas ‘Angel’s Choir’. Austin, TX.

One of my favorite flower tales is of the Rev. W. Wilkes, the Vicar of Shirley, whose keen observation and tenacious dedication is responsible for the Shirley poppy. He tells how “in the summer (I think) 1879 or 1880 I noticed in a wilderness corner of my garden among a patch of field poppies, one bloom with a narrow white edge”. He selected and selected over generations of descendants until he had obtained a strain of poppies with white edges and petals of pale pinks, mauves, and lilacs from the ordinary red corn poppy.

Papaver rhoeas Angels Choir

Papaver rhoeas Angels Choir

Papaver rhoeas Angels Choir

Papaver rhoeas Angels Choir

Over the years his single-flowering poppy was further selected for double poppies. On January 27, 2010 (a bit late) I planted the strain ‘Angels’ Choir’ from Renee’s Garden Seeds. The seed packet describes the ‘Angel’s Choir’ strain as an “award-winning combination of silken-petaled, double poppies featur[ing] shimmering watercolor shades including cream, apricot, peach, coral, lavender, pink and bicolors and picotees. It took breeders years of selection to develop these absolutely magical forms and lustrous soft colors”.

Going Rogue. Or Rouge

Following generations of work by those who carefully selected only the most delicate colors, I feel that I must dutifully rogue out the red and orange flowers. Although I like the clear hues, they really clash with the more delicate ones. Anyway, I can enjoy them inside.

Papaver rhoes Angels Choir

by M Sinclair Stevens

9 Responses to post “Papaver rhoeas ‘Angels’ Choir’”

  1. From Linda Lehmusvirta Austin:

    Thanks for yet another great story and beautiful pictures and ideas. I will add these to my list. If they’ve done well for you, I but must give them a try!

    They are as easy to grow as my other overwintering annuals. My fault is that I don’t thin them rigorously enough so they are too small and crowded this year. –mss

  2. From Linda Lehmusvirta Austin:

    Oh, on your white plate pictures, do you just use natural light? Not to steal your idea or anything. . .but they are so neat.

    Yes. I use natural light because I don’t have any fancy photo lights and my indoor light is very poor. — mss

  3. From Jenny Austin:

    What a beauty. I’m suddenly feeling very bored with my pink, single poppies.

  4. From Window On The Prairie:

    Lovely poppies. I’m afraid the wind here would not do them any favors. They’re very pretty though.

  5. From Annie in Austin:

    The Angels Choir poppies from Renee are lovely, MSS – you & your garden really are Papaver heaven this year.

    With but one larkspur that made it, a few purchased bluebonnets and 5 non-blooming poppy plants from NG your words are taunting me: “They are as easy to grow as my other overwintering annuals.”

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. From Cheryl in Austin:

    I love your poppies, and thank you for the story! When exactly (I ask because I feel like you know the minute, temp, day, etc. etc…you’re such a scientist) do you put out your seeds. I have dumb luck with poppies and scatter seeds yearly, to only get a few…and yes, they are the garish variety. I don’t care, I just want poppies. They are delightfully cheerful! Can I please, please, please…trade you something for seeds and wisdom???

    I got these Shirley poppies planted a bit late this year, on January 27th. I try to plant poppies during our first hard freeze. They seem to like cold to germinate. I’ll be happy to share some seeds with you…I have several kinds so we can talk later about which ones you’d like to try. — mss

  7. From Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings:

    MSS, I read Bill part of your bloom day report this morning. You write so clearly and so well about what is happening in your garden, and I so enjoy your posts. I’m glad Austin is getting rain again. I missed my dear friend’s posts about this beautiful TX environment and felt so bad for all of you last year. Here, it’s rained for days, and I shouldn’t write it, but I could use a break. Don’t remind me in July when all is sun, sun, sun.~~Dee

    Thanks–I feel a bit surprised. It takes me such a long time to collect and verify the data that by the time I write up the post, I don’t feel I have much mental energy left to write very well. It often comes off sounding much more terse and telegraphic than I intend. So I’m glad it doesn’t sound that way to you. — mss

  8. From Tommi:

    Your poppies pictures are gorgeous! I’ve planted 6 oriental poppies in my garden over the past two years and only one has buds. What am I doing wrong?

    I’ve never grown oriental poppies so I don’t know. Poppies, like most flowers, like full sun. The kind of poppies I grow don’t want a very nitrogen-rich soil as that will make them produce all foliage and no flowers. — mss

  9. From angelina:

    I still love the scarlet poppies, especially the ones in the deep blue-y reds. However, I have been completely romanced by the lighter pastel shades. I love, especially, bread seed poppies and the double Shirleys.

    My favorite in your pictures is the first one.