Poppies are synonymous with Tuscany, and May is poppy season. Orangey-red corn/field poppies (Papaver rhoeas) dot roadsides and carpet fields, providing spectacular splashes of colour in the currently verdant countryside.
Poppies, especially corn poppies, have always been one of my favourite wildflowers. I love the contrast of the bold colour with the delicate, tissue-paper thinness of the petals.In our olive grove they grow in rows along the edge of the olive terraces and beside pathways.
In winter we picked the basal rosettes and young leaves of poppy plants and cooked them like spinach. Later, when the petals have dropped and the seed heads are dry we’ll harvest some of the seeds for baking. For now I’m just happy to enjoy the flowers swaying in the breeze.