Papaver somniferum in Shiplake

Apart from the lovely red poppies that are common place in and around the countryside of Oxfordshire/Berkshire, we are seeing an increasing number of commercial poppy fields as a standard crop for farmers. I took these photos on the 30 June 2013 returning from a trip to Reading. It was  strange morning; I had heard that our dear friend, Ian had just passed away from cancer. It would have been very easy to have driven past this field, but for once I stopped, parked the car and took the photos using the only camera I had – my new Samsung Galaxy. This Saturday was the most amazing morning; clear sunshine and beautifully hot – in other words, a glorious English summer’s day. What a beautiful day for our friend Ian to leave us. He had gone through the pain of cancer – such an indiscriminate disease; and yet here I was standing in a beautiful field of poppies whose by-product would have eased his pain as he reached those final weeks. It was a cathartic moment.

Morphine has traditionally been imported to the West from Tasmania, Spain and Turkey, however the morphine poppy, Papaver somniferum, was first grown commercially on British farms in 2002 and now it can be seen around Dorset, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire (Source: Daily Mail).

These beautiful flowers are able to give joy to those passing by with their delicate petals, and they provide farmers with a necessary cash crop that can ease their monetary pressures. However they provide an essential part of care for those suffering such immense pain; many of us would prefer to avoid this form of relationship with this beautiful flower – but thank goodness it is grown here.