Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - It’s not a ‘breaking news story’, but it is guaranteed to bring a smile to all who commute daily on Upper Miller Creek Road; the emergence of the gorgeous Miller Creek poppies.

I began noticing the brightly colored poppies a few years ago since I drive that road several times a day, but year after year they multiplied until a good portion of the hillside was covered.

Curiosity about the poppies led me to call Sandy Perrin, Missoula County Extension Horticulturist about what she called ‘oriental poppies’.

Sandy Perrin with Missoula County Extension Described these 'Oriental Poppies'

“You were talking about those oriental poppies, and they are a species where people plant their roots, and they come up very early in the spring, utilizing winter moisture, and then they're blooming now,” began Perrin. “Then they actually go dormant in the summertime. So it works really well for a dry land setting.”

Perrin described the natural process by which the poppies spread.

The poppies have Propagated on the Hillside over the Years

“Probably by seed,” she said. “They form a seed pod after they bloom, and they seem to be very hardy and are easily propagated when you're not trying. Typically, those are plants that you dig up in really, really early spring or very, very late fall to get a root division.”

Perrin said there are many varieties of the hardy annual flowers you can plant in your own yard.

READ MORE: Missoula’s Snow ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ Says Kolb and Perrin

Perrin said there are many Varieties of Oriental Poppies

“There are lots of varieties of Oriental Poppies out there, other than just your standard ones that we see as the orange,” she said. “There are some with fringes, some that are pink, some are variegated. Some have fringed edges, and bi-colors. So yes, there are lots of options, and of course, there’s also the iris, and the Iris Society does a great sale at the end of July from the Iris Gardens at Fort Missoula too.”

When you have a chance, drive up Miller Creek Road, and after you pass the roundabout you’ll look to your right as you approach the turn onto St. Michael Drive and the bright orange poppies will definitely cheer up your day.


What Grows Well in a Montana Garden?

Montana gardeners and beginners alike, have so many options when it comes to growing a decent garden in our difficult climate.

Gallery Credit: mwolfe

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM