Blue poppies grown in Devon are big hit for green fingered gardener

June 14, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A gardener was celebrating after growing a rare flower rarely seen outside the Himalayas – these stunning BLUE poppies.

Green-fingered Ray Brown has spent years trying to grow the elusive blooms which require cool, acidic conditions to thrive.

But Ray pulled off the feat by planting them in a shaded area using recycled tomato bags at his nursery Plant World, near Newton Abbot, Devon.

He sheltered the plants from the mid-day sun using a hedge and kept the area very damp to grow the poppies for the first time since he founded the nursery in 1985.

Ray said: ”I don’t think there is another bed like it in England. The bed is 10 yards by 20 yards and staggeringly beautiful.”

Blue poppies were discovered in 1922 by British mountaineer George Leigh Mallory, during a failed attempt to reach the summit of the then-unconquered Mount Everest.

The plant was introduced to much excitement at the Royal Horticultural Society’s spring show of 1926.

But the delicate poppy proved extremely difficult to grow in English conditions and the species became fabled over the decades.

The flowers, which have been successfully grown in Scotland, are now rarely found growing outside the Himalayas.

A spokesman for the National Trust said the harsh winter has held many poppies back – which are now blooming later than usual.

He said: ”A combination of a deep winter and some of the hot sunshine we’ve had recently has been perfect for poppies.”

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