Behind the Fence

Monday, May 31, 2010

Poppy Tribute

The tradition of Red Poppies on Memorial Day goes back to World War I when Canandian soldier, John McCrae wrote the poem In Flanders Field. Moina Michael, an American woman, wrote these lines in reply:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies

The custom of wearing a red poppy on Memorial Day evolved.

My beds of poppies bring memories of a special WWII veteran to my husband and me. They are from seeds saved by my late father-in-law. A couple of years ago I found the seeds in my mother-in-law’s refrigerator, stored in a medicine container. It was labeled “Dbl Pink Poppies, Sp. 88. “Yes” my mother-in-law confirmed, they had been in the refrigerator for 20 years and yes I was welcomed to them. Both of us doubted they would germinate. I was thrilled that they not only germinated, but thrived. What a treasure! Some are single, some are double (kind of ruffled,) some are shades of pink and some are shades of coral. This year there was even a lavender one. Each year I save the seeds, plant some and pass some to friends.
I didn’t get a chance to really know my father-in-law as he passed away away shortly after Randy and I married. However, as I use his gardening tools and reference books, I feel connected. With ferns, mums and poppies from his garden, the spirit of Everett Janne is alive in my garden.


  1. Thanks for sharing Chris. Happy Memorial Day!

  2. What a blessed place! I am delighted to see the pictures and to learn about you and your activities. You must be just as passionate to go about this so successfully.

    I also have a blog on gardening and I'm sure we may share a lot. I'm the one who will learn the most, though.

    Hope you check out my posts. The pictures there are all from southern Brazil, where I live.

  3. Thanks, Lia, for reading my blog. I'd love to see yours. Please send me a link. You are correct, I am very passionate about gardening.

  4. Just Discovered your blog and we love it. My wife is a seed saver too, so she loves this story.

  5. Hi, Chrystel,
    The link to my blog is
    Hope you will pay me a visit and drop a line.