The Oriental poppy buds stand up large and tall, irregularly rounded and bristling, their central indentation announcing a coming opening. They look forbidding and fierce, warning off predators.
How different are the buds of the annual Shirley poppy: though also spiky, the bud is small and shy, bowing its head before the world.
I photographed the buds on Monday; on Tuesday morning I was surprised to see many of the flowers had opened, the one at the top right still wearing its little cap of protective bud.
The bud has split and a little bit of folded scarlet petal shows.
The petals rise up like flame....
....or flow outwards, a fan opening.
The pleated petals are still cupped and will quickly open out into a large saucer....
...while the fallen cover of the flower lies on the grass like a seashell on the beach.
Looking inside the opened flower, the pistil and stamens are royally beautiful, an Oriental ruler wearing a turbaned crown, and with a high elaborate ruff. They sit inside a royal red, seemingly delicate and papery, yet tough, and resistant to the winds of change.