The first day I arrived in Logan Botanic Gardens I was stunned by the beauty of Meconopsis ‘Slieve Donard’, a blue sky-like flower, a purity you could only find in a perfect cloudless sky. Visitors around the garden are as amazed with it as I was. It’s been three weeks since I first saw this Meconopsis and now a new show is taking over a few feet away – Meconopsis ‘Hensol Violet’, one of the many different species of the Himalayan poppy. First discovered by Lady Henderson in Hensol Castle in Scotland, who was a notable plantswoman and gave the Hensol name to an aquilegia – Aquilegia ‘Hensol Harebell’ – and to this beautiful and gentle Meconopsis. They melt perfectly into the scenery while still exhibiting their most beautiful attributes.
Why Meconopsis grows well here in Logan, is no surprise. A well-drained and rich humus is the secret. Mulching every year with well–matured rich compost and watering in dry summers is essential. The location is important as well, as they are originally from the Tibetan Himalayas, they like sunny spots to partial shade. Meconopsis, part of the Papaveraceae family, thrive in Scottish gardens as the weather is close to what we could find in their region of origin. They are hardy and really a ‘must have’. ‘Hensol Violet’ is an easy variety to propagate by seed and self–seed really well when the plant is mature. Cottage gardens and wildlife gardens are ideal to plant them in.
As Richard Baines (curator at LBG) said “You learn a lot more about them seeing them in the wild” but if you can’t go there, you can always try growing them in your back garden with the few tips above. They are one of the many surprises you can find here in Scotland’s most exotic garden.