Romneya coulteri – The Californian Tree Poppy
To the south side of the Manor we have a small, sheltered garden where we are able to offer Romneya coulteri the protection that it needs and so surely deserves.
By this point in the year, tight, pointed buds are breaking open to release a succession of fabulous flowers: large, delicately crinkled white petals surround a rich egg yolk centre made up of hundreds of closely gathered stamens bearing golden pollen. Nicely cut glaucous leaves set the whole thing off wonderfully.
Being a native of California, Romneya coulteri finds our own winters a bit of a challenge but we need not be daunted: help out by providing a sheltered position and making some basic preparation before the cold sets in. This winter we reduced the top growth by about a third and mulched the crown with 3 inches of finely composted bark to hold back the cold.
As the weather warmed in late spring growth started up: the overwintered stems showed some signs of growth but did need a little tidying up elsewhere. Mostly, however, the plant made plenty of good strong growth from the base which has flowered this summer.
I have read of this shrub suckering madly once established – so you have been warned! Personally, I couldn’t help but be excited at the prospect of being ravished by such beauty.
Words by Robert, photographs by Martin