Pollenating bees have helped create many varieties of poppies in Robert and Sandy Russell’s Mountview front yard — such as this layered pom-pom-like specimen. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Pops of colour in Red Deer front yard

A field of poppies blooms at 3931-43A Ave. in Red Deer

Sandy and Robert Russell’s Mountview front yard resembles the famous poppy field scene in the movie The Wizard of Oz.

But there’s no danger of falling asleep on their stoop — Sandy says a policeman came around a few years ago and confirmed they aren’t opium poppies.

The poppy seeds were given to Robert some years ago by his former Olds College horticulture instructor. With a constant quackgrass problem in the front yard, the Russells had decided to seed it with flowers in 2002.

“I hate grass. It’s useless,” explains Robert, who feels flowers are much more beautiful to look at.

This summer, the Russell’s poppies are a particularly spectacular display.

Sandy believes it’s because all the rain has helped germinate seeds that had been lying dormant in the soil for years.

Since late June, the couple’s front yard has been a visual extravaganza of pinks, reds, purples and whites.

Neighbours have commented on the colourful spectrum and passersby stop daily to admire the yard.

Sandy is amazed by how many different types of poppies have been blooming — the result of much cross-pollination by bees.

Besides the usual delicate-petalled ones, there are heavily layered blooms resembling pom-poms, and feathery varieties.

But not everyone’s an admirer of so much poppy abundance.

The deer that are usually attracted to the Russell’s front yard by the roses, mustard plant and phlox, are steering clear this summer.

“They don’t like the poppies,” Sandy concludes.


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Some of the front-yard poppies that stop pedestrian traffic at 3931- 43A Avenue in Red Deer’s Mountview neighbourhood. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

A field of colourful poppies have taken over Robert and Sandy Russell’s front yard in Red Deer’s Mountview neighbourhood. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

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