Meconopsis 'Slieve Donard'
Meconopsis come from the Himalayas, China and Tibet where they have monsoons in the growing season and temperatures which rarely exceed 20oC.
In gardens they require adequate moisture and moderate temperatures, so areas of the world where they thrive are becoming less and less due to global warming.
Meconopsis also prefer growing mediums which have a high humus content and are rich in nutrients. In very heavy soils, which are prone to water-logging, plants will benefit from a raised bed culture with drainage material such as grit and garden compost added.
While Meconopsis will tolerate alkaline conditions the presence of lime will cause colour deterioration in the big blue poppy hybrids changing them from “electric blue” to muddy purple.
M.Sleldonii x'Slieve Donard' (Infertile Group)
This fine hybrid was raised in Scotland, but named and distributed by the Slieve Donard Nursery, Co. Down, Northern Ireland, and is now found in Meconopsis collections worldwide.
I have fond memories of visiting this nursery, now sadly no longer in existence, and seeing large groupings of M. 'Slieve Donard' growing in the light shade of beech trees with the highest peak of the Mourne Mountains, Mount Slieve Donard providing a delightful backcloth.
When grown well this classic Meconopsis hybrid deserves all the plaudits that have been heaped upon it over the years.
This soundly perennial poppy requires division every 3 or 4 years, I normally carry this out when growth commences in spring.
I always feed my perennial Meconopsis with a slow release fertiliser and top dress the bed with well rotted garden compost/leaf mould, which helps retain moisture in summer.