Plant of the Week

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.

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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.

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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. DSCF4536

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. Untitled2

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

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