Poppies return in force to Norfolk's landscape

This spectacular splash of red for many epitomises the arrival of summer in Norfolk. The eruption of more poppy fields this year comes after the weed killer Fortrol was taken off the market at the end of 2007.

This spectacular splash of red for many epitomises the arrival of summer in Norfolk.

The jagged outline of scarlet petals, which poke up through crops, on verges and in a sea of red in the county's fields, strongly contrast with a vast Norfolk sky.

Scenes like this have exploded across the region this year.

But for the farmers, whose oil seed rape must battle for nutrients with soaring numbers of poppies, the sight is not such a welcome one.


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The eruption of more poppy fields this year comes after the weed killer Fortrol was taken off the market at the end of 2007.

Norfolk agronomist Nick Bowden said: 'The poppies may look good for other farmers and people, but for those who own the fields the poppies take the nutrients out of the soil.

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'This particular spray (Fortrol) was taken off the market last year and this is why the poppies have come through. Many farmers have decided to let them grow through too.'

He added that it had also been a difficult spraying season with high winds.

But despite the negative impact that poppies have on farmers' crops, there are many in the county who celebrate these red flowers as part of Norfolk's heritage.

Edwardian travel writer Clement Scott gave the Norfolk coast between Cromer and Overstrand the name 'Poppyland' in the 1880s, in recognition of the scarlet landscape.

Angie Tillett, councilor for the Poppyland ward on North Norfolk District Council, said: 'The poppies on the road are quite wonderful. It's one of those things you take for granted when you live here all the time. But if you go away and you suddenly see this coming through at this time of year it's quite special. They are a part of our heritage.'

Poppies were also much loved by the Southwold artist Margaret Mellis, who died aged 95 in March.

They bloom large in her late flower drawings on opened-out envelopes, which will be displayed in a memorial bouquet at Austin/Desmond Fine Art gallery on Great Russell Street in London from Friday until July 28.

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