Popping up at Longwood: rare blue poppies

Visitors have only about two weeks to view the rare, blue poppies on display in the Longwood Gardens conservatory. Photo courtesy of Longwood Gardens

You’re not seeing things: Those poppies in the Longwood Conservatory really are a luscious shade of blue.

Once considered a myth, blue-poppies (Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’) are alive and thriving at Longwood, but only for a limited time. These spectacular flowers – native to the high elevations of the Himalayan Mountains – are on display only for the next 10 to 14 days, according to a Longwood press release.

Longwood Gardens, one of very few places to see these rare gems, uses a growing technique to force the blue-poppies to flower every year in March. The cultivar, 'Lingholm', produces large flowers that average four-inches in diameter. The substantial petals are a mesmerizing deep sky blue color, the release said.

Blue-poppies are infrequently cultivated outside their native habitat. Given the right conditions, however, they can thrive in the northern regions of the U.S. and Europe, the release said.

Longwood Gardens, the former estate of industrialist Pierre S. du Pont on Route 1 near Kennett Square, is open daily, including holidays. Admission is $20 for adults; $17 for seniors (from age 62); $10 for students (ages 5 to18) or with valid student ID) and free ages 4 and under. Group rates are available..

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