Surely Shirley is Lovely Too

by Christine Breen

What is it about the enchanting papaveraceae family that so appeals to us?

Is it the colours of the butter-yellow or tangerine-orange eschschoizia–the state flower of California—discovered there by a Russian naturalist named Eschscholtz. (And you were thinking: where did the strange name of the flower of the Golden State come from? A California state of mind? Never fear, dear reader, I will not let you down and fill your head with misinformation. No. Never. Nuh-uh.)

Or is it the random, yet surprising places where one finds the wild field poppy growing?  Like, a crack in the sidewalk, or along a boreen on the way to the beach at Doughmore…

Or perhaps it is the pastel beauty of its cousin, the ornamental cultivar, ‘Shirley’—first discovered by a vicar, Rev. W Wilkes, in his parish churchyard in Shirley in England…

I ask you?