Poppies Yesterday and Tomorrow

November 28th, 2008

While the weather remains mild, I know winter is coming. The garden is filled with small poppy seedlings that will not survive the winter. I look at their green leaves peeking through the litter of mulch and wish I could see the flowers they promise in their full glory.

But, as I said, winter is coming. I shall have to wait through the snows and wind for new seedlings, ones that were not as precipitous as these, to see the next season of poppies.

So I shall undoubtedly paint poppies this winter. I think I must come by this great enthusiasm for poppies quite naturally.

You see, my grandfather, Otto Lanshaw, painted the scene at the top of this article. That is the original Lanshaw homestead in Michigan as it looked when my mother was a little girl growing up in the poppies.

I also grew up there, but the poppies were mostly gone by then, overcome by the grasses and thistles. Sometimes a valiant little plant would burst forth with a determined bloom, but only occasionally.

I have more than made up for their loss by growing thousands of them every summer here in Montana. These delicate blossoms open at dawn and show their incredible fresh colors for a short time before the breezes take the petals wandering.

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