The poppies are starting to burst all over the garden this week, and each morning we find their furry husks scattered about under the clumps, a somewhat crumpled red poppy waving where a pod was the day before. It's like watching a butterfly come out of its chrysalis - its wings all wet and crinkly and soft. The kids have tried a couple of times to fit the petals back into just a part of the husk, to no avail. The hull of the poppy pod has to be one of the most tactile things around. It's soft and bristley and just begs to be stroked.
Max and I, in a fit of End of the Year-itis, have started betting on which pods will burst next. We have three varieties to choose from: the standard red Oriental, another Oriental called "Princess Victoria Louise," and some Shirley poppies scattered about here and there. The red Orientals are the first so far, but we're really anticipating the Princess Victoria Louises because they have these weirdly elongated layered pods, which are slowly separating like the sides of an articulated bus as it turns a corner. You can see the pale sides coming more into view each day. We almost pulled one apart today, just because, but then came to our senses and left it to come apart without any interference. It's a delightful torture, this waiting around. We're loiterers in the garden, idly betting, hands in our pockets, coins at the ready. Flaneurs. (someone stop me before I start quoting Baudelaire)
Ever glad to be a part of something exciting, the twins are keeping track for us ("Mum! Max! Another poppy in the side border! MUM! MAX!"). They dash onto the deck every morning and gaze about, each hoping to be the first to spot the new one. It's a charming way to start the summer season.