Scarlet Tide

And far and wide, in a scarlet tide,
The poppy’s bonfire spread.

Bayard Taylor


I love poppies. Sometimes over the downs we get vast fields of them, a blazing scarlet carpet from the distance and an incredibly fragile and vivid bloom close up.

I did grow some poppies – papaver somiferum – Victoria Cross, an impressive flower with a bold white cross against the single red blooms. A percentage of the sale of seeds went to fund the Royal Hospital Chelsea which aids and supports military veterans.

They were somewhat long in the growing, and I waited and waited! Then at last they were there but the transient blooms lasted barely a day before dropping scarlet velvet petals to the earth! Beautiful, but my little garden really needs plants that pay their way for a little longer than that.


Next year I’ll look forward to spotting them in the fields, on a Summer walk on the downs instead


I never did make it to the Tower of London to see the sea of ceramic poppies. It looked wonderful though. What a fantastic way to remember to those who fell, a humbling sight.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae, 1915


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