A smudge of red has been visible from The Old Forge for over a week.
As I worked in the garden,
it drew my eye. The following morning, I decided to go for a closer look.
I associate field or common poppies (Papaver rhoeas – should you care), with field margins but this huge expanse of rape hadn’t been sprayed with herbicide
and I suppose the wet spring has encouraged them to flourish.
Poppies aren’t a UK native
and were probably introduced in the seed-corn of neolithic settlers.
Each plant can have 60 000 seeds
which may lie dormant for up to 80 years. They germinate after the soil has been disturbed; either by ploughing
or, perhaps, by artillery shells.
Which is why poppies thrived on the battlefields of Belgium and north-east France during the Great War and became a symbol of war’s horror and a remembrance of loss.
But on a beautiful July morning, I wasn’t thinking of war or mud or death. I was simply thinking how splendid the South Downs are – and very close to my heart.
This post won the RHS Gardening Blogs Competition 2013.