Poppies On Newly Turned Earth

Unprocessed poppies on newly turned soil

In the park near our house the Council planted some trees. It is a long term plan because there are already probably one hundred or more trees in the park.

Some trees are nearer to the end of their lives than the beginning. So in due course, the newly planted trees will grow to dominate the scene.

At the same time, both this year and last the Council left an area to grow wild. It is separate from other areas of the park where they sowed wildflowers. They left this area to just do its thing.

And in this area that they left to grow wild, the only place that poppies have grown is where the soil was turned for the tree they planted there.

Which reminds me, and probably many, many others, of the poppies of Flanders, when after the artillery had turned the land to mud and the battle was over, the poppies grew in the newly turned soil.

And here is a version of the photo that I made where I overlaid the image with a photo of misty clouds and then blended in Photoshop. The darker mood seems to suit the idea of poppies on the battlefield.

poppies on newly turned soil

The camera I used to shoot this is an Olympus E-PL8 with the 14-42mm kit lens. I bought the camera to test whether I can shoot comfortably with a camera that does not have a viewfinder but only a rear LCD.

The answer is no, I need/want a camera that is about as small but that has a viewfinder. There are a couple of reasons for that and the biggest is that on a sunny day it is impossible to see the image in the LCD.

The other reason I need/want a viewfinder is that I like to be sure exactly where my focus point is, and LCDs don’t lend themselves to that.

So I sold on the camera, but I do like the richness of the colours. They remind me of the colours in the photos of Robin Wong who shoots with Olympus cameras.


The newly planted tree is Pinus pinea, which is commonly known as the stone pine, also known as the umbrella pine. It is native to Southern Europe and the Middle East, and it can reach 15-20m (45-50ft), so not a big tree by the standards of some of the trees in the part. That said, in this climate and latitude, perhaps it will grow taller, looking for the illusive light.


  1. Joan E. Miller says:

    I see that the new tree is an evergreen. I imagine because it will be fast growing. That’s happening in many places. They plant evergreens that grow fast, in order to have quick results. However, they usually have little wildlife values, compared to deciduous trees. That’s my understanding. The poppies are lovely. Red? We have lots of “wild” poppies that grow in Seattle. I believe they are called California poppies, and are orange. I would like to have some around my house, though again, they are not native!


    1. That is so that deciduous trees generally have more value to wildlife. Of the trees the Council have planted, it is just this one that is an evergreen. They have planted two Rowan, a Silver Linden, a Black Walnut, a Sweet Gum, five Kobushi Magnolia, a Tulip tree, a London Plane, two Handkerchief trees, and others. Pretty good, eh!

      Most poppies in the UK are red, and are this species. We also have Welsh poppies that are a lovely egg-yolk yellow, and some others.


    2. Tamara says:

      Joan, as David detailed – this park has many tree species, it’s fantastic. This patch is a lone spot with a sapling in the midst of many mighty trees (some that are several hundreds of years old.)

      Interesting about the name of ‘California poppies.’ Thanks for that.


  2. Tamara says:

    We humans have such associative minds, don’t we? Because we connect such red poppies here with WWI, this lone group here looks poignant. In any event, their vividness is absorbing too. Lovely photos, David, thanks for capturing our walk all the more. 🌺


    1. Yes, it’s inevitable with such a huge historical event, and one that is commemorated each year with poppies.


  3. writemeow says:

    The poppy is my favourite flower. As much as I love all flowers, the poppy holds a special place. I bought a poppy scarf yesterday 😊.

    As a previous commenter mentioned, the poppies here in North America are more orange-red and not native. The ones back home are red, as in your gorgeous picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Poppies are really clever. I remember I would go past a field, and then one year – in among the crop – the field was covered in poppies. I don’t know how farmers deal with them. The seeds are OK (poppy seeds on bagels 🙂 ) but the stalks and seed heads – I wonder, how do they stop those getting mixed in with the crop? And just generally, because there are always weeds in a field – even if only a few.

      Another thought I have had is that all these animals that we say are herbivores – cows, for example – they must surely eat endless numbers of juicy insects wrapped in the leaves, yes?


      1. writemeow says:

        The farmers must be clever too. And the cows … perhaps they just think ‘ignorance is bliss’.

        I’ve thought about what they feed pigs. Certainly there must be pork in that!


        1. Who feeds pig to pigs? I know that messing up the food chain like that is a way introduce pathogens into the system.


        2. writemeow says:

          They don’t. I had heard, some time back in my youth, that they fed pigs kitchen scraps. That’s not the case anymore, from what I understand. The subject hasn’t been on top of my attention …


        3. It’s just that we have this idea that big animals – elephants, cows, buffaloes, etc – are big because they have the enzymes to digest cellulose. The whole picture might be different – that a substantial part of their diet might be fat-and-protein-rich insects.

          Coincidentally, Tamara was reading just today that mammals all the way up man have a gene that codes for the ability to digest insect chitin, and that the gene originated at the time of the mammals that were alive when the dinosaurs were around.

          Liked by 2 people

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