The Poppy

My last post on honey bees really got me in the mood for spring! I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and currently reside in Portland Oregon. As most people know the region gets a lot of rain. I think this fact makes the arrival spring that much more special and this year is no exception. I have a little garden plot right outside of my window and my mom and I have been filling it with various plants and seeds over the past couple weekends. (Thanks mom!) While shopping for plants I picked out several poppy plants because they remind me of my grandma Ellen. As a child I spent some of my summer at her house, in Birch Bay Washington and among the many things that stand out, poppies is one of them. Ellen loved to garden flowers, fruits, and vegetables and I believe she had quite a knack for it. So in honor of spring I decided to do a four part series on flowers, and in honor of my beloved grandma Ellen the first flower I will be exploring is the poppy.

According to the book, The Language of Flowers, by Marina Heilmeyer poppies have come to symbolize the stark contrast between life and death, heaven and hell, and good and evil. This duality is expressed in the poppy by its contrasting beauty and seeds that are capable of death and oblivion. In Greek mythology poppies are often depicted with Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and fertility and Morpheus, the god of dreams and sleep. Heilmeyer describes poppies as a, “magical flower suspended between good and evil, light and darkness, healing and annihilation.”

The book Garden Lore, by Julia Jones and Barbara Deer recognizes the poppy as a symbol of remembrance to fallen soldiers. Poppies can lay dormant for many years and when the soil in disturbed they will burst into life. This is exactly what happened on the battlefields of Flanders, during the First World War, when soldiers started digging trenches and hundreds of poppies came into bloom. This forever linked the poppy to war and remembrance.

The collage below is for sale online at my Etsy store. This is the first of four collages I will do on different flowers. My love for quilts is reflected in the piece. (This image is copyrighted and can’t be printed or copied for any reason.)