Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The state flower.

Happy California Poppy Day. Yes, would you believe the official flower of California (Eschscholzia californica) has it's own special day.
These poppies have been blooming all over the Napa Valley since February (the first ones I noticed where alongside the driveway into Napa Valley College), and will continue to grace roadsides, vineyards and fields with their presence until late summer. Extremely drought tolerant, they easily self-seed and consequently pop up in an new part of Vinoland every year. This particular poppy is blooming right alongside a Pinot grigio vine.
I was once shown a photograph of a vineyard that had been sown with California poppies as a cover crop, it looked beautiful. Poppies do have rather large tap roots that can penetrate hard soils and clay and aid in aeration, but they would not add much in the way of nitrogen or biomass to the soil. Besides, who would have the heart to want to mow them down? Not me.

6 comments:

Thud said...

Monkey and I will consider them for our mini vineyard.

The villager: said...

A delightful flower, and colour.

Affer said...

Beautiful, VG, just beautiful. Here in Turnipia, our poppies will not flower until June (we're covered in daffs at the moment!). Deep red, the poppy is also Norfolk's unofficial county flower - in fact, part of the coast between Cromer and Overstrand was known as Poppyland, so abundant were they. But, the EU's end of 'set aside' means that fewer wild meadows exist these days, and we poppy lovers have to make do with displays in the field margins.

Sylvia Plath wrote two poems about poppies (Wartime Housewife will expound on that, I'm sure!). I find them depressing but 'In Flanders Fields' always touches me.

Vinogirl said...

Thud: Dandelions, daisies and clover all work just as well.

Villager: They look like satin close up.

Affer: Daffs well dead over here.
I have red poppies pressed between tissue paper in an old AA road atlas from your neck of the woods.
Studied Plath for my English A Level...wish I'd had a cheery bunch of poppies in my classroom to minimise the sombre effect her poems had on me and my fellow 17 & 18 year old classmates!

Do Bianchi said...

@Vinogirl I love that we are tandem-state-flower-blogging! :-)

Vinogirl said...

2B: Great minds think alike etc.