Then I discovered that the lady across the back alley had some stunning red ones. She was a friendly sort, and not long after we moved into the house, Mary gave me a little film container (remember those?) full of her red peony poppy seeds. I was delighted, and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. For a number of years, I had fluffy red poppies in various corners of my yard.
Unfortunately, dear back-alley-Mary died of cancer four years ago... and that was the first year that her poppies didn't reseed themselves in my yard. I saw a few of them peeking under her fence before the house sold, and was always going to pick a seed pod or two, but somehow, it never happened. Mary had died, and her poppies disappeared from the neighbourhood, too.
This spring, I was digging in my seed cupboard and came upon Mary's film container of poppy seed, and lo and behold! there were a few grains left in the bottom, so I carefully took them out into my front yard, found a special place for them where I thought the soil would be good, and planted them. Nothing happened; nothing grew. Maybe the seed was too old ten years later. Drat!
But I'm suspecting that Mary, my friend from the communion of saints, is smiling upon me. At the back fence of our vegetable plot, there's something of a wild patch where I allow anything but weeds to grow... and this year, a bunch of poppies have volunteered... both pink AND Mary's red peony poppies, as well as daisies... and a newcomer -- a coral peony poppy that I've never seen before. The poppies that were lost came back in full bloom, and brought a friend.