My Himalayan love affair - Meconopsis

Blue poppies are things of dreams. They startle and spell bind each time you see them in flower.

The first blooms for this year, were there today. They are early; I usually expecting them late in May and into early June. The mild, sunny, dry spring has hastened their appearance.

I saw my first Meconopsis back in 1980’s at Jack Drake’s Nursery. John Lawson who ran the nursery then was a friend and mentor and a great plantsman. He knew how to grow plants to perfection, and a day discovering his trilliums and meconopsis was a rare and lasting treat.

Why are they so entrancing, it is the quality of the petals. They are large and satin textured. In a spring of white, yellow and then the pinks and reds of our early rhododendrons, suddenly they are there, a heart stopping blue.

There are various varieties and species of course, and it is always a surprise to remember our own common welsh poppy is a meconopsis, but these Himalayan beauties are sublime.

Over the years we have tried many meconopsis from seed. Some wonderful, many unsatisfactory

It is because of this latter state that I have just gone from this page, to the Meconopsis group web site and renewed our subscription. The Meconopsis group was founded in Scotland has undertaken the heroic task of sorting out the confusion of varieties and strains of Meconopsis that were throughout Scotland and UK gardens.

Now we grow Meconopsis sheldonii types, which settle and become perennial for us. We have some clumps of Slieve Donard that have grown well for years and a very old plant of Rogers’s nursery, which has thrived on benign neglect.

I always tell people to feed, feed, and feed them. They are gross feeders, loving animal manures if you can get it, or that wonderful smell of spring, dehydrated chicken manure; nothing like it.

Over the bank holiday weekend, I have spent the 2 sunniest days of the year so far in the dappled shade of the woodland area of the garden. This is where the blue poppies are happiest, shade but sunshine too. They like a place where they do not get too dry, and most summers we can provide that alright. Think of them amongst Bowles golden grass, Millium effusum, or amidst a stand of variegated Solomon’s seal Polygonatum oderatum variegatum

Definitely time to get back to seed exchange and visiting other gardens to continue this love affair.


  1. Cat, you share my love for the Meconopsis, which I intend to reintroduce to our garden very soon. A great post you have given us on this plant today. I have grown meconopsis betonicifolia and Sheldonii, I very much have a preference for the Sheldonii.

  2. Beautiful bloom, I too am a fan of Meconopsis especially after I saw and read about it on the Himlayan Garden book. Difficult to establish here though.

  3. AnonymousMay 06, 2011

    Thank you for clarifying what I should feed them on, I have plenty chicken pellets, so will use them! Great post, thanks


  4. Our mecanopsis sheldonii are almost in bloom. The are such a wonderful blue....

  5. AnonymousMay 08, 2011

    I am so envious of your Meconopsis - they are absolutely beautiful. I've never seen them in gardens around me (north Wales) but I don't see why they might not work... we've got the right soil, and certainly moist (most of the time). I can feel another addiction coming on!


Thank you for leaving a comment - it is always great to hear about other peoples gardens and lives. If you ever drop by the nursery, make sure you say hello. (Margaret & Donald)

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