In Flanders fields the poppies blow


“Imagine thousands upon thousands of bright red poppies growing in every garden and window box – the entire nation covered in poppies,” suggested The Greenhithe Royal British Legion.

The national Royal British Legion, which runs the annual poppy campaign to support serving and ex-service personnel, took up the idea and launched the Centenary Poppy Campaign intended to cover the UK in poppies in commemoration of the fallen in the First World War.

And if the vision is to be realised, now is the time to start planting the packets of Centenary Poppy seeds available from B&Q who will donate £1 to the work of the Legion for each packet sold.

The National Garden Gift Voucher scheme, whose WWI limited-edition £25 voucher will come with a free packet of seeds supplied by Thompson & Morgan, is also getting in on the act, donating 60,000 packets of poppy seed to the campaign.

And there are other seed-sowing projects which will contribute to the ubiquity of the poppy this summer:

Suttons Seeds are donating £1 for each pack sold of their special WWI Northlew Poppy seed, to a memorial stone in memory of men from the small Devon village bearing proportionately the greatest losses in the Great War. Northlew is also creating a 20 mile long poppy avenue, the longest in the world, along the route the soldiers took to war, using 330,000,000 seeds donated by Suttons.

Meanwhile Mr Fothergill’s has pledged 25p to the Royal Hospital Chelsea for each packet sold of its Victoria Cross poppy with its distinctive white cross across a single red flower.

In a related move, Chelsea Physic Garden is also offering Chelsea Pensioners free entry to the Garden for a hundred days from 28th June, in memory of access given to patients from military hospitals during WWI. Wilfred Owen was one of the soldiers to visit, spending one of his last afternoons in England there with Siegfried Sassoon. He left reluctantly, embarking for the Front shortly afterwards and died in France  just days before the armistice was signed.


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