Thanks to the power of the web, and this blog, I was recently contacted by Graham Mentor-Morris of The Real Poppy Campaign. While I’m sure many of you are aware of the Campaign, Graham kindly sent the following information:
“A unique campaign has been started to plant real poppies to coincide with this centenary. The bright red Flanders poppies (Papaver rhoeas) also known as corn poppies, will be planted by thousands of people all across the County of Kent during spring 2014 – for flowering late July/early August. The 2014 Real Poppy Campaign is the brainchild of The Greenhithe (Kent) Royal British Legion. Chairman, Phil Berry said; “We would like to see Kent covered in real Flanders poppies during August 2014, just imagine thousands upon thousands of bright red poppies growing alongside motorways, hundreds in every garden, hedgerows, fields, window boxes – the entire County covered in poppies.”
During WW1, the total number of military and civilian casualties was an estimated 37 million. There were over 16 million deaths (an average of almost 10,000 per day) and more than 20 million wounded ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history. The use of the poppy was inspired by the World War I poem ‘ In Flanders Fields’ Its opening lines refer to the thousands of poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the churned-up earth of soldiers’ graves .The 2014 poppies will commemorate and honour the huge sacrifices made by so many.
Kent based groups, including schools and youth organisations, cadets, scouts etc and any interested community groups will be provided with seeds and are encouraged to cultivate or simply scatter or ‘cast’ thousands of the seeds wherever they can(+). The poppies are wild flowers, they offer no threat to wildlife or the environment and will grow readily. Approval for the project has been given by DEFRA (+). To help ensure a national coverage, the RBL Riders Branch have agreed to assist in the casting of poppy seeds on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself.
A flowering success rate of around 65% is estimated if correctly cast/planted. The seeds are provided free of charge (*) and can be wild casted anywhere (+) they will usually grow untended and participants need no gardening skills. Full instructions are provided with every pack of seeds. With your help, this campaign plans to be a bright and vivid reminder of all those lost lives.
(*) Subject to HLF Funding
(+) Message from DEFRA; Do not use near agricultural areas or sites of scientific interest.
We are requesting all interested persons or groups register their wish to get involved for free supply of seeds – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an alternative, people can purchase seeds and donate to the Poppy Appeal, simply go to the dedicated website: www.realpoppy.co.uk Dartford Borough Council have already purchased 1 Million seeds for the Dartford centenary plans – other local authorities are invited to also get involved.
Or you can find us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/343656562384364/#!/groups/343656562384364/”
The Real Poppy Campaign 2014 is officially partnered with the Imperial War Museum.