How to have an Alaska poppy garden, lush and dreamy


I’m a very amateur gardener, but this year, I went pro in the poppy department. I LOVE poppies and it appears whoever once owned my house did too. As I’ve disturbed the soil in the beds, poppy sprouts have appeared and the blossoms have been exotic, varied and lovely.

The poppies all have stories attached. The purple poppies in my yard came from a single volunteer poppy that appeared one year in the Anchorage Daily News garden. (I’ve also been known to pocket seed pods on occasion when I see some really cool poppies in a strangers’ yard. Shhhhh.) Anyway, everything came together this summer and it was gorgeous.

Growing poppies in Alaska is about the easiest thing ever (which is how come I’m good at it and you can be too). All you do is find good seeds and throw them on some open dirt in a sunny spot in the fall time. In the spring, when they sprout, you thin them without mercy. The more room you give the plant, the bigger the blossom. Then, water, water, water.

Last week, after watching the plants climb skyward for months, my garden exploded with color. It was the lushest, dreamiest poppy garden ever. The coolest part was the variety. Every morning I’d go out early with the baby to see which ones popped. Now its brief colorful season is coming to an end, but in honor of a great run, I offer this slideshow. (PS: Come by in October and I’ll give you some seeds.)

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Julia O’Malley is a journalist who lives in Anchorage. She writes about culture, family, home, the environment and food in Alaska.

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