Whether you’ve got a wildflower area or a cottage garden full of classic cottage plants, poppies are well suited to these areas. Poppies don’t need much of an introduction, with the vibrant flowers in saucer-like shapes. But what can you do with poppy seeds and seedheads once the flowering show is over?
Poppies are often visited by my bees from over at the back, as they provide a lot of pollen.
Not only are the flowers themselves stunning, but the seedpods that follow are striking too. Collecting the seeds from seedheads means you can have next year’s poppy meadow right at your fingertips.
The seedheads look out of this world. In fact, they do remind me of the pods from the Alien movies, but inside there isn’t a face sucking monster. Thankfully there is just seed.
To collect them, you can use foil or a bit of paper. Foil gives a bit more flexibility to create a little cup which can be used to create a spout to decant them from once place to another. Then you can see there are hundreds and hundreds of seeds just coming from there.
To store them I tend to use an old Tic Tac box – it’s the perfect size.
The kidney-shaped seeds have more uses than being planted. They can be used to add flavour, texture, and a crunch to a variety of dishes. They are found in lots of bakery products such as bagels or lemon poppy muffins. As well as this, they’re added to salads and vegetables.
Poppy seeds are a source of fibre, which helps to keep you feeling full for longer. They’re also a source of magnesium, which helps with bone health and blood clotting, and calcium, which plays a role in bone health.
Poppy seeds can also be pressed to make poppy seed oil, which has omega-6 and omega-9 fats, which have been found to improve overall health and lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
The seedheads themselves can be cut and collected in autumn to be sprayed with silver, white, gold, or crimson paint. Do this to use them as natural Christmas decorations over the festive period. Other plants that are fantastic for this are alliums, globe artichokes, and Chinese lanterns.
So, poppies don’t just make pretty flowers, instead the seeds have a multitude of uses, and the seedheads themselves can make a wonderful addition to your winter displays.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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