Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Papaver 'Drama Queen'

Papaver hybidum 'Drama Queen'
     Right now my garden is full of poppies.  All of them are self sown and they are all probably forms of Papaver somniferum, but in the Annie's Annuals catalogue they are listed as Papaver hybridum, so that is the name I will use from now on.  Anyway, I have them in all colors and forms--single, partially double, and full pom-poms.   They have been growing in my garden almost from its inception and, if you have ever grown these, you know that if you let them go to seed you will have them ever after.  Occasionally I will see a particularly good form in a nursery and so I will buy plants and let those go to seed.  You only need one plant to go to seed to get vast quantities the next year.
     My favorite so far has been the one in the picture which Annie's Annuals calls 'Drama Queen', a very apt name.  I have tried to isolate this to one area, because these poppies interbreed and unless you isolate a particular strain, what you get the next year will not look precisely like what you had the year before.  Anyway, the isolation has pretty much been successful so I have had these come true for about 5 years.
      For those new to these flowers, this kind of poppy is an annual, unlike Papaver orientale which I showcased in an earlier blog entry.  You can buy seeds for this kind of poppy, but I have found that the easiest way to get them established in a garden is to buy a few plants and let them go to seed.  When you notice the seedlings coming up which they do pretty much all year round in our climate, it is best to thin them so there is at least 6 inches to a foot between plants.  If they grow any closer together, the plants will be stunted and the flowers not as large.
     I like 'Drama Queen' primarily because I want to photograph it and it makes a dramatic picture.  For the one posted above I took 6 different shots with a relatively shallow depth of field, focusing on different parts of the flower for each shot, but making sure that all parts of the flower were in focus in at least one of those shots.  Sometimes this technique requires more that 6 shots, but that was all that was necessary here.  Then, I took those 6 shots into Photoshop, each one as a different layer in a single image and used the photomerge command.  This is a process whereby Photoshop combines the different images such that the whole flower is in focus.  I like this technique because it allows me to have a shot where the whole flower is in focus, but the background is blurred.  It is much harder to achieve that effect with a single shot.


  1. Thank you for sharing that technique, you are so right about the single shot issue. I commend your patience.

  2. Would you have some poppy seeds to sell?