Roguing is a funny term. It sounds a lot edgier than it actually is, but for small-scale farmers intent on keeping open-pollinated seed stocks clean from one year to the next, it’s vital.
Roguing is the process of culling plants with characteristics you don’t want that may appear in a bed of otherwise similar plants. It allows a grower to select, over the process of many generations of seeds, the ones that will grow plants with the most desirable traits for a particular garden.
I rogued the poppies over the summer in favour of the most beautiful oddball that showed up unexpectedly. I’d planted an ordinary grape soda-coloured lettuce poppy all along the gravel road into the farm, but when it flowered, half the plants had these gorgeous, Rococo flowers:
They were just beautiful, with big flounces of red and black petals like flamenco dresses:
The overall texture was one of crepe silk; fantastic!
Needless to say, my focus is now on those gorgeous, unexpected visitors. I’ll sow out the seed in the spring, broadcasting it onto the last snow to ensure it gets a proper chilling to break its dormancy, and with luck, we’ll have scads of beautiful flamenco flowers. We’re calling this variety of poppy Dragon’s Breath until we learn what its catalogue name might be.