The Miracle of the "Elsie Poppies"

If you haven't read the post
"The Poppy Seed Experiment",
reading it first will provide the context for the following post.

Left: The packet of Shirley Poppy seeds that were dated for the growing season in 1970.

After sowing the seeds from the above packet back in February, and subsequently writing about them and their significance, I have waited and waited to see if the seeds would grow. I had already determined that if they did grow and bloom, I would dub them "Elsie Poppies" after my Grammy (the original owner of the seed packet).

In our region of the U.S., seeds can go in very early in the year since we usually don't have frost after the last of February or early March. Poppies are really happy in our climate if they're given an extra headstart, so that's why the seeds went into the ground in late February. That way they would get the benefit of the spring rains to help them germinate.

I watched and watched the bed where I'd sown the seeds. Soon I saw little sprouts coming up that looked like they might be poppy seedlings. I couldn't be sure if they were the Shirley Poppies though because there was a chance that they could be Red Oriental Poppies or some other volunteer poppy from others I've had in the garden previously. I realized that I would just have to wait until each plant actually bloomed to see if they were indeed Shirley Poppies. If they had a black center, then they were Red Oriental Poppies. If they didn't, then they were Shirley Poppies.

So I watched and watched some more. Finally, last week they started to bloom! I have hesitated to post. Why? Because none of them had black centers and I'm still in awe. They all had light centers! They are Shirley Poppies... ahem... "Elsie Poppies"!

There are some things in life that can only be classified as miraculous. I count this as one of them. Seeds that were 38 years old sown into the ground still remembering their purpose and mission is a miracle to me. Somehow inside those tiny black specks were the instructions that made these beautiful blooms possible.

What is more miraculous for me is that these seeds were purchased by my Grammy. She had hoped to put them into the ground and see their lovely blooms so many years ago. But instead, the seeds weren't sown until 38 years later, and now I am enjoying the blooms that my Grammy would have seen had she planted them. There is a poignancy to this reality that I can't quite find the words to express. The only word I can use is "miracle".

And so, I share with you the "Elsie Poppies" from my garden. They are small, but they are beautiful. And they are really here! And you can bet that I'm definitely collecting the seeds from these precious blooms.

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  1. Oh Cindy, how wonderful! What a beautiful, tangible reminder of your precious Grammy. I'm thrilled for you!!!

  2. Ohhh, I love poppies. They are gorgeous. Makes you think of the Wizard of Oz.

  3. What a wonderful story -- I should think those poppies would be special, indeed! What a lovely tribute to your grandmother.

  4. Cindy, Beautifully spoken. I love the story and I KNOW Grammy is there enjoying them with you.
    Love you so much,

  5. Swallowtail Garden Seeds has Shirley Poppies for those of us without "heirloom" packages of our own. :)

  6. That's a beautifully sweet story. That is truly a miracle.

  7. What a wonderful post! I have iris in my garden from my grandma, hollyhock seeds from a neighbor and sweet peas from my mom. I love to share seeds and this story is the reason why.

  8. A lovely post! The poppies are beautiful and much more than that, they are a sweet memorial of your Grammy.
    A row of Shirley poppies in my vegetable garden got me hooked on flower gardening many years ago.. they are still one of my very favorites.


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