Lovely, Lavender Lady of the Shadows: The Japanese Wood Poppy Blossoms in The Secret Garden…

Glaucidium palmatum, the Japanese Wood Poppy in my Secret Garden today

At times, it felt like a never-ending courtship. I prepared a special spot for her beside the wall; moist, mossy and protected from harsh sunlight and drying winds. I surrounded her with complimentary beauties; maroon leaves and burgundy-tipped ferns. I gave her the darkest, richest compost and protected her in winter with a thick, warm mulch. But there she sat for years —in her gorgeous, emerald ensemble—unwilling to favor me with a flower. And then, when least expected, a pair of mauve-tinted, dew-kissed buds stopped me in my tracks. Some things in life are more than worth the wait…

Glaucidium palmatum, the Japanese Wood Poppy, began blooming in my Secret Garden three springs ago. At first, she only offered two lavender blossoms. But each year, more and more of her beautiful flowers appear. Of course her foliage is stunning all on it’s own; deep green, textured and exquisitely cut at the edges. But once her breathtaking flowers begin to open in late May —one of the Secret Garden’s sweetest moments— I find myself  thinking about them for the rest of the year…

Glaucidium palmatum buds with dew drops in the Secret Garden

Beautiful Even Without Her Lovely Lavender Blossoms, This Gorgeous Plant Stops Visitors Mid-Stride When in Bloom

The Color and Shape of the Japanese Wood Poppy are Nothing Short of Stunning

Listed as hardy in zones 5-9, Glaucidium palmatum does very well in my 4b/5a garden with winter protection (compost/leaf/bark mulch mix). She’s made for the shade, and prefers moist, neutral to acidic soil with plenty of well-rotted compost worked in. Although this 18-24″ perennial plant is stunning on its own, her textural foliage combines well with many shade plants; including Heuchera, Tiarella, Athryrium nipponicum ‘Pictum’, Actaea racemosa ‘Hillside Black Beauty’, and more. But be warned, not only is she slow to flower (sometimes up to 4 or 5 years), she’s also a bit rare, and often hard to find. Of course, with the hard-to-get, the rewards are sometimes so much sweeter…

The Japanese Wood Poppy is Having Her Moment in the Spotlight. And Oh, What a Star…


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9 Replies to “Lovely, Lavender Lady of the Shadows: The Japanese Wood Poppy Blossoms in The Secret Garden…”

  1. dinnie

    Hi Michaela,

    I have been hoping for pictures of the secret garden at this time of year!! I love to see the individual plants, but would like even more to see the whole garden. Thank you!

  2. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    Hi Michaela, Oh, what colour!! Does she do a luminescent dance between blue/mauve/lavender in that “golden hour” at sunset?
    I absolutely love the detail of her foliage… She would (and does) make a beautiful impression (in both senses/punning intentional) and, ‘though her lobes are much less deeply cut, actually reminds me a lot of the Anemone canadensis I have just outside my front door (only a poor commoner by comparison; ) xo D

  3. Michaela

    @ Deb – Anemone candensis is one of my all-time favorite flowers. I need to create a special garden just for that plant! And yes, the color of Japanese Wood Poppy does vary by time of day, weather, age, and —I believe— her mood!
    xo M

  4. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    Ha! Yes, special (separate) garden indeed! I think that mint is easier to control than A canadensis… But did you know the common name is (wait for it – you’re gonna LOVE this) Crowfoot? Just for you! How perfect is that, eh? xo : D

  5. Michaela

    @ Deb, I knew you would catch that. And Crow Foot? No, I’ve never heard that one… And I LOVE it ;) Thank you for clueing me in! xo M

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