Blue Poppies from Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania, Display at Philadelphia Flower Show

February 24, 2010

Blue Poppies, Courtesy Longwood Gardens

Blue Poppies (Meconopsis) Courtesy Longwood Gardens/L. Albee

The blue poppies from Longwood Gardens are one of the many plants discovered in the past 150 years and showcased at this year’s Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s “Passport to the World” Flower Show, February 28-March 7, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Notable plants discovered or recovered from plant exploration trips by Longwood Gardens, one of the world’s great display gardens located in Kennett Square, Pa., will be featured. Longwood has sponsored or embarked on 50 plant exploration trips, reaching every continent except Antarctica. This is the first time that Longwood will be growing plants especially for the Flower Show.

“Longwood Gardens is delighted to be a part of the Flower Show and to share many of the extraordinary plants that have resulted from Longwood’s research and plant exploration efforts,” said Paul Redman, Director of Longwood Gardens.

For the Explorer’s Garden, Longwood has forced its signature Victoria Longwood Hybrid water-platters into bloom. Usually a summer garden highlight, the water-platter leaf can grow to as much as 6 feet in diameter. Longwood developed Victoria Longwood Hybrid in 1961 by crossing V. cruziana and V. amazonica, the only two species of water-platters, from seeds collected during plant exploration trips to South America.

Blue Poppy (Meconopsis), Courtesy Longwood Gardens/L. Albee

Blue Poppy (Meconopsis), Courtesy Longwood Gardens/L. Albee

Guests to the Explorer’s Garden will also encounter New Guinea impatiens, now a staple in home gardens around the country, but first brought back to the U.S. after a Longwood-sponsored trip to New Guinea in 1970. Other notable plants include the Meconopsis or blue poppy.  This startling blue beauty requires the cool climate of the Himalayas, Scotland or Alaska to flower, but Longwood growers have successfully forced Meconopsis for display each March since 2002. Longwood is also contributing Echium candicans “Select Blue,” a perennial with a bright blue spike, and Echium wildpretii that can produce flower spikes up to five feet tall. Longwood is also growing a selection of large specimen poinsettias, paying homage to the popular holiday flower that was on display at the first Philadelphia Flower Show.


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