My first encounter with this beauty was the very first HPSO open garden I visited, that of Jeanne Graham. What a great ambassador she was (and is). We sat and chatted in the shade for a while, and then she took me down the street to see her daughter’s Matilija Poppy. It was huge, tree-like and spectacular.
After several failed attempts to get seeds and transplants to take, I came across a nice little plant at a HPSO plant sale. The vendor assured me that it was a garden-worthy plant, not that much of a sales pitch was needed. Here it is after three years in the ground.
Quoting from the Sunset Western Garden Book “White flowers up to 9″ wide; five or six petals with texture of crepe paper surround a round mass of golden stamens. Fragrant. Blooms May-July, on into fall if watered. Flowers handsome in arrangements.”
I do water, but sparingly, and all of those fuzzy buds will open over time.
Again from Sunset: “Use on hillsides as soil binder, along roadsides and in marginal areas, in wide borders. Invasive, spreading by underground rhizomes; don’t plant near less vigorous plants. Tolerates varying soils (including loose, gravelly soil). Withhold summer irrigation to keep growth in check. Cut nearly to ground in late fall. New shoots emerge after first rains in winter. Although easy to grow once established, the plant is very difficult to propagate. Easiest way to grow more plants is to dig up rooted suckers from spreading roots, but you can try taking cuttings from thickest roots. To make seeds germinate, mix them with potting soil in a foil-lined flat, burn pine needles on top of flat for 30 minutes, water, and hope for sprouting.” In other words, no wonder I had no luck until I found a good healthy plant, well on its way. It’s native to California, and I have found none of the invasive tendencies described here, but consider yourself forewarned. Other stats: full sun, responds to water, tolerates aridity.
We have Loree to thank for getting us talking about favorite plants in our gardens. It’s not unusual to find a new favorite of your own after hearing someone else rave about a plant you have never noticed, or maybe even heard of. Do drop on over to Danger Garden to see what Loree is favoring right now, and why not join in the fun?