One evening Bernie and I walked the dogs beside the river so I could get a few sunset photos with the poppies. But who knew that Californian Poppies close their petals up at night! (well most of you probably did), but it was news to me. Haha - never too old to learn, huh.
The geekiness in me, googled "Why poppies close up at night?". And I learnt, they're not the only flowers that do this; tulips, hibiscus and crocuses do too. This behaviour is called nyctinasty and the most likely explanation is to protect their pollen. Insects that pollinate these flowers are active during the day, so when petals are closed at night the pollen is kept dry and safe.
Charles Darwin believed the plants that close up at night do so to reduce the risk of freezing.
I've seen these poppies lots of times but never known much about them other than they seem to be able to grow anywhere. Even the most infertile areas can be ideal for these plants to thrive.
A few things I have recently discovered are ...
* The Californian Poppy is the state flower of California.
* It has medicinal properties and is known to promote relaxation and support sleep. It's good for aches, nervous agitation, bed wetting in children and diseases of the bladder and liver.
* Petals can be used as a garnish or eaten as food in salads.
Before we ran short of light, the dogs went to the river to cool off.
Part of the attraction of watching a sunset is seeing which colours might appear. And that night was no exception. The sun was setting when we arrived, and everything to the east had an tangeriney tone. However behind us the sky was a pastel magenta, which explains why photographers often remind folk to look behind when capturing a sunset.
That night, nature put on a display of 'Shades of Orange'. It was the perfect way to end the day.
And when the sun disappeared, we did too.
That is until the next day. The weekend had come to an end and it was time to head back to Nelson. I couldn't resist one last visit to the river and the dogs were more than happy for an extra walk. The Californian Poppies had opened their petals and were out in full force.
The river bed was smothered in a mass of golden blooms. Everything - except the odd cluster of creamy Californian Poppies, named 'White Linen".