Poppies!

California poppies at the Theodore Payne Foundation.
California poppies at the Theodore Payne Foundation.

I love poppies.  California poppies especially.  Oh eschscholzia californica, I am yours!  How did I ever think you were plain and a sorry choice for  a state flower? I was young and taken by the luxuriance of english roses, larkspur, and peonies.  Somehow, I woke up transfixed by your simple, vibrant orange blossoms and silver blue-green leaves and I cannot forget you!

Mr. Cartigan and I were married among matilija poppies.  We gave a garden mix of poppy seeds as wedding favors.

Romneya Coulteri
Romneya Coulteri (Matilija poppies) – Elings Park, Santa Barbara

A few years later we took M & R to the same spot.

R loves matilija poppies too.
R loves matilija poppies too.

We saw poppies on our honeymoon in Ireland.

The Boyne Valley.
The Boyne Valley near Slane.

And planted poppies at our tiny apartment just after we were married.

A poppy on our front porch.
A poppy on our front porch.

And now, I pause by our neighbors’ houses, so many of them festooned with the beautiful blooms.

A neighbor's poppies.
A neighbor’s poppies.

Today we visited the Theodore Payne Foundation and it happened to be Poppy Day!  Hooray!

Mr. Cartigan and R, in search of poppies.
Mr. Cartigan and R, in search of poppies.

IMG_8632

Poppies grow wild at the Theodore Payne Foundation.
Poppies grow wild at the Theodore Payne Foundation.

IMG_8648We left with four California poppy plants!

My mom’s favorite flower is the lupine.  Every spring, when my dad saw the first lupines blooming on the Southern California roadside, he would stop and gather a few and bring them home to my mom.  I don’t think my dad knows that I love golden poppies so fiercely but this year he sent this picture announcing the arrival of spring.

Lupine and California poppies.
Lupine and California poppies.

Happy Spring!  I am so grateful for these golden flowers that glow with the sunlight.  To me, they are the pulse of the land; beautiful, alive, simple, faithful, and yet so delicate, so transparent, animated so dramatically by the rays of the sun.

2 thoughts on “Poppies!

  1. I love poppies too! I am from Memphis and went to college in Ohio, so I had never seen those bright orange beauties before I moved to Berkeley for grad school. I was mesmerized by their color and the satiny feel of their petals. I love them so much! But I also love the other kind–they have always looked like fancy skirts to me. 🙂

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