Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Plume Poppy




The garden is a drab mess in August and this year is no exception. It is too hot to weed or do anything else for that matter. Dragging hoses around to keep everything watered is strenuous enough and just running out for a few minutes to do that leaves you wet and sticky. I just hate this time of year.

Most plants in the garden look desperate and I can count the ones with blooms on one hand. One that looks somewhat decent is the Plume Poppy (Macleaya cordata), a tropical looking, big-leaved beauty that commands attention. Even when stressed by drought and heat, the leaves turn a golden color that looks metallic when the light hits it a certain way. Underneath, they are white and downy. In late summer, delicate sprays of tiny white flowers appear - attractive but to me, the leaves are the star of the plant.

I bought the plant a few years ago at a local plant sale and I was warned that it could be rampant. I wisely planted it in a sunken plastic container. It spreads by underground rhizomes but thankfully the sunken container seems to keep it in check. From time to time, I spot it popping up in other places but it is easily identifiable and easy to pull up.

Plume Poppy is tall and dramatic and can be used as a dramatic focal point in the garden. Just keep an eye on it!
 
Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

21 comments:

  1. I've never heard of the plume poppy. Seems like a nice addition to a garden. What are these backlink things? I've never heard of them before either. I googled it and it said they're something like an extended comment. I like the bright green!

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  2. My boss gave me a plume poppy to plant near my pond and I absolutely love it. I didn't put it into a container like you did but I just pluck out the undesirable ones.

    It's been a hot, dry August here too , which is unusual as it's usually the rainest.

    I saw the first bloom of Sweet Autumn clematis today so that show will be awesome.

    The cooler days of Fall will soon be here!

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  3. Those wordless wednesday cats are adorable. It's on my blog post page under the comments box. There is a section that says "Links to this post"

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  4. Phillip, it's a pretty thing which I don't have. Good advice about the plastic container. As for August, I just barely endure it. We finally got some cooler weather for which I nearly danced. Happy almost September to you.~~Dee

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  5. Love it! Believe it or not I have three planted, of course they run everywhere but I find it very easy to remove and that for me is the difference between a noxious weed and an exuberant plant!

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  6. I am one that has never heard of a plume poppy. It must be a Southern plant?? I too hate this time of year. I am looking forward to winter to wipe the slate clean so we can begin again next year. Remind me I said that in February.

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  7. I have heard of but never seen a Plume Poppy..I agree with you about the heat!

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  8. It makes me feel better to know that a pro like you lets your garden get a bit raggy in the sweltering summer months! Mine is a disaster.

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  9. It looks nice. Does it grow very tall? Seems like a good plant to brighten hot Augusts.

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  10. I'm really for some cooler weather and a change in seasons. I want some new plants and new colors in the gardens but I'll have to wait another month or so. I've never heard of that plant. It has interesting foliage.

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  11. I have this and it indeed spreads, but is easy enough to keep up with. I love the way water beads on the leaf after a rain. I usually pull it up or cut it back when it gets out of bounds. By cutting it I get to see the rich orange colors of the stem.

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  12. I've heard of, but not seen plume poppy. Good to have some big leaves in the garden.

    We had 6 inches of rain over the last week, so we're in good shape. I'm having the best August blooms ever, but I plant for drought. My white butterfly ginger is already in full bloom.

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  13. No chance of the Plume Poppy ever causing a problem here...too friggin' cold in the winter....thus wouldn't survive. However, there is always some other bizarre plant to take it's place...like morning glory or goatweed!

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  14. I've been wanting a plume poppy for ages...but our garden is so small :-( Perhaps it'll work in the parking strip...and will be a nice summer screen! Those leaves are really outstanding...the ones I've seen around town are absolutely enormous...at least 12' tall...how do they stand up to wind?

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  15. Phillip, This may be the different shape leaf to cure the small leaf problem in my garden~Good idea to sink the pot...gail

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  16. I am unfamiliar with plume poppy, but yours is gorgeous. Any plant that looks great in August gets my vote! I think our temps are finally beginning to cool just a bit. Hooray for september!

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  17. I really enjoy my plume poppies as well... I keep them near the edge of the property amongst the windbreak and they are very manageable there... L

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  18. I have Macleaya in my garden and it spreads itself pretty quickly. But I give away young plants to my gardening friends and so keep it under control. I love the plant!

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  19. The weather this past month has been horrendous. Over 90, but looking in the 70's by week's end. Can not wait and neither can the garden. Rain maybe? Plume Poppy, never had them, but anything that looks good at this time of year, gets my vote. Good advice on keeping it contained.

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  20. Hi Phillip, My August garden was and is still this second day of September a mess too... though I doubt yours is in running with my chaos. Plume poppy is one of my favorite plants and here it has disappeared so what is with the rampant habit? I luckily had given some to a neighbor so was able to get it back but it is not so easy everywhere it seems. It is striking with your birdhouse! You have to love those soft plumes and the color and form of the leaves are lovely. I have to work hard to get it established again. Mind you I have a garden of unmannered thugs so perhaps the Plume Poppy is just not up to the battle. ;>)

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  21. I have a nice mass of these and they are really quite easy to keep controled.

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