The Poppy Seed Experiment

Recently, my mom was going through her boxes in storage and came across some seed packets that she had forgotten about.

The seed packets were originally purchased by my Grammy. Grammy passed away from ovarian cancer at the young age of 64 in the spring of 1977. The illness took her quicker than anticipated. I was very close to her and felt a deep kinship with her. Her very quick exit from this life left a void in my life and in my heart that still causes me to mourn.

When Grammy's three daughters went through her things after her death, my mom brought Grammy's seed packets home with her. The seeds were never planted--probably unconsciously left in storage as a way to somehow hold on to the garden and flowers that were an extension of who she was.

Aside from looking a lot like her and having similar personality traits, my connections with Grammy were many (which is why I miss her so deeply), but none seem so strong as the gardening connections I have with her. Grammy's garden was where I came to love my favorite flower--the lilac. It was also where I photographed my first hollyhock. And it was where I tasted chives for the first time. I learned to love the smell of hay at Grammy's house. And I developed my affinity for the look and smell of bearded iris there. Because of my special connection to Grammy and her garden, when my mom came across the seeds a month or two ago she passed them on to me.

The newly discovered seed packets alone are a treasure for me. The graphics and typefaces take me back to my childhood. When I flipped over this packet of Shirley Poppy seeds it said that it was packaged for the growing season of 1970! But I also noted on the front that the packet touts that the seeds are "foil packed".

Yesterday, I finally got up the nerve to plant the 38 year old seeds. Poppies do well in our soil and are best if the seeds are sown right about now. So after I completed the planting of the new roses, I snipped open the foil packet within this seed packet to sow them. The seeds had obviously stayed dry because there wasn't any clumping. I sprinkled them around with my new seed sowing trowel that vibrates the seeds through a tiny hole for even dispersing.

Now I'm going to just sit back and wait to see if seeds this old can germinate. If I'm successful with these, I'm going to try out the other various seeds I also acquired from my mom.

Somehow, I'm hoping that my sweet Grammy will angelically kiss the seeds to make them grow. If they do then the Shirley poppies will be dubbed "Elsie poppies". I will definitely be keeping everyone apprised of the "Poppy Seed Experiment".

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  1. Cindy, I love this! I do hope and pray the flowers will bloom. I am envious of the fact that you are able to begin gardening; we still have a lot of snow on the ground, and a snowstorm expected tomorrow and Sunday. I love gardening! It is therapy for me. I miss you!

  2. This was such a moving post, Cindy. The resemblance between you and your Grammy is amazing - incredibly beautiful smiles!

    I bet your seeds are going to germinate. Your Grammy will be looking out for them - how cool would that be!!

  3. Beautiful post. What a wonderful way to remember your Grammy. I can't wait to see the pictures.

  4. How very very sweet. Good luck and hope they germinate and thrive.


  5. I really hope the flowers grow after all this time. It would be wonderful! Can't wait for updates.

  6. Sweet memories.
    I look forward to follow your seeds grow.

  7. Ohhh! I hope they come up!
    Wouldn't that be so cool?

    You do look like Grammy!

  8. haha~nice blog, ok...stay cool~

  9. Now that is an awsome story, I know if they grow you will be one happy lady. Keep us updated.

  10. I cannot believe how much you look like your grammy! I sure hope the flowers grow. It will be like a special gift from her.

  11. Wow sure do look like your Grandmother! I do hope those 38 year old seeds blossom and bear great blossoms...
    Have a great weekend!

  12. I am sure that your poppies will do well. The connection between you and her was very strong and these will never be severed because she has left her earthly body. I am sure she looks down on you and smiles. When your poppies bloom it will be as if she is with you once again.
    Lovely story and I understand totally I had a very similar relationship with my Gramps.

  13. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that some of your poppies sprout. Wouldn't that just be a fitting addition to your garden?

    Love the side-by-side photos!

    Robin at Bumblebee

  14. What a great post! You do look like Grammy! I hope those poppies bloom for you. That will be a fun thing to watch for.

  15. Cndy:
    I LOVE the pictures. I'm so glad you planted the seeds. I like the idea of "Elsie Poppies."
    Mom (sniff)

  16. This is a wonderful story....I'll be watching to find out the results from those 38 year old seeds! I am hoping for a good crop of "Elsie poppies" for you.

    You really do look so much like your Grammy...I love it when family resemblances show up like that. Gets me to wondering how many ancestors we look like, how far back does my face go...

  17. Thank you so much!!! Seeing a sweetheart like you gives me hope that she can have a normal life. Everyday I wonder will this pain be something she has to carry forever. Will it mess up her life as she dates and marries and so on.
    Your prayers mean more than you know.

  18. What a wonderful story, Cindy...I'll be rooting for those little seeds to start growing, too!

  19. oh this is such a wonderful post, and i am sending such positive wishes and energy your way hoping that the seeds will germinate and that grammy's garden will be a real part of your life again. if the seeds germinate and the poppies arrive we will have to believe that those are very powerful seeds from a very strong line of poppies! i want you to send me a few seeds if they do bloom! i would love to have her energy here in our pacific nw garden, too! spread the love!

  20. You and your Grammy share the same lovley smile! I am sure that she will smile down when your poppies pop open! Surely let us know! :)NG

  21. what a wonderful story, i really really hope that nature triumphs and the seeds grow for you.
    Leanne x

  22. Hi Cindy,
    That was a lovely story and brought back memories of my Grandad who got me going with this gardening and wildlife lark.
    I hope your seeds germinate, poppies can be in the ground for years before they pop up when they have the right conditions, so hopefully yours will.

    Cheers Mark

  23. Cindy,what a wonderful post!
    Gosh you look so like your grammy!
    I do hope the poppy seed grow ,they should do if they were sealed,I look forward in anticipation to seeing them blooming in your garden,What a tribute to your Grammy!Take care,Love from Kathyann and the girls
    Cindy ,call by and put a name to my musical doll there will be a suprise parcel for the winner!

  24. You do look like your grammy! I hope your experiment is a success!


  25. Wow Cindy these seeds are really old, but hey never know may be they will grow. I know that I had some old seeds of something else in the garage for few years, and when I sprinkled the ground, they did come out. Aside, poppies are my favorite, I grew up in Europe, and they were very common, not just for flowers but poppie seed cakes etc, so we had fields of them. It was fun. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story and also a nice reminder of my past. Anna :)

  26. How wonderful! I love this story. I do hope you have a lush garden from those seeds...each flower a memory!

    Look forward to lots of photographs.

  27. Wow, Cindy, do you look like your Grammy or what? Maybe not the eyes so much but everything else! I love this and I'm praying those seeds germinate for you and grow strong and bloom. Keep us posted on their progress!

  28. Cindy, This is another blog that needed the tissue aleart! I know that if Grammy (Mom) has any say in this those wonderful poppies will be blooming before long. I would love to have some of the 1st harvest seeds for my yard.
    Love you so much,
    YFA Joanie

  29. I love this! What a treasure to find and plant something from your dear grammy. You do look a lot alike.

  30. You didn't tell me that you are planting your grammy's poppies right here at Rosehaven Cottage! I am so happy, I get to sniff them to

    TomTom (your kitty)

  31. I stumbled over your blog for the first time today, and was thrilled and fascinated by your story of your grammy and the seeds. How I wish that your seeds will germinate! Goodluck to you - I will return to your blog - it's very nice. /Katarina

  32. What a lovely momento of your Grandmother-I do hope the seeds grow and you can see her in every flower.

  33. Hello Cindy,

    This story really touched me - hollyhocks are what I remember planting with my grandmother, too- it would be amazing if you could get a strain of those poppies to grow and perhaps even reseed.

    This Wikipedia article might give you some hope this can happen ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  34. that I saw photo of you granny, you and you as baby, I can see a strong dominant gene. Anna :)


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