Oriental poppies are luscious – probably the bloom most painted by artists. I have pink, orange, white and red oriental poppies in my garden (as with many perennials, I collect poppies!). The petals have a lustrous sheen, the leaves are fern-like and hairy, and fat, furry buds define anticipation. As their Latin name ‘papaver’ eludes, the freshly opened petals are fragile as paper. My favourite is ‘Beauty of Livermere’ - deep cherry red with powdery brown-black centers. The glory? - Oriental poppies put on a stellar display in June. The suffering? - they die back after blooming leaving not so spectacular dried up foliage, so plant them amongst summer blooming perennials like cone flower or yarrow that will overcome the brown.
Technical stuff – hardy perennial prefers full sun (okay in part sun but can get floppy), 36-40” tall, blooms in late spring/early summer.