Thursday, December 14, 2006


Continuing on with my 'mini-vacations', Bhutan is next.

This is a country that I really, really hope remains as untouched as it has. Why would I want to visit? It is one of the very few intact ecosystems left in the world.

Sandwiched between China and India, the Himalayas rule the north border. It posesses 3 distinct climates - obviously, severe winters in the mountains, a temperate central area and a tropical south. Imagine what you could grow!
More than 5,500 species of plants grow there, (and who knows how many yet to be discovered) with the main agricultural crop being rice.

The national flower is the Blue Poppy (Meconopsis grandis)

Is that not beautiful!?

The Blue Poppy is a perfect candidate for Winter Sowing and is a robust plant that's hardy to zone 4. The seeds need light to germinate, as with most poppies, but no sun as even the plants themselves will suffer if temps reach 80 degrees or above.

It's happy with harsh winters, with lots of snow cover, and cool summers. Grown in more alkaline soil, it's possible the petals may present as lavender or wine purple instead of blue. It prefers partial shade, preferably afternoon to protect from the hottest part of the day. Fertilize well and mulch to keep soil moist.

The plant gets 2 feet tall and the flowers are 3 to 5 inches wide, with four to five flowers per stem. Should be divided every 3rd year. If not deadheaded, will produce seed pods. Some have designated this a hard to germinate seed, while others have found it not difficult at all.

The seeds are available at Thompson & Morgan.

So, if anyone would like a real challenge, there ya go! Could there be a more fabulous flower to give a try?

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