Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)


Poppy's got a brand new bag

  If I get arrested, incarcerated and sent away for life for this blog, then it was nice knowing you. I have to tell you about an odd-ball practice, a crime I guess, that has been going on in my neighborhood for more than 20 years and it involves my wife's poppies. These poppies do not look like the bright orange to red opium poppies. They are great big pink poppies, look more like big carnations, that are real pretty and people who walk by comment on them.

This problem began about two decades ago: A man came to the door and he wanted to pick the old "pods" to "make Christmas decorations for his daughter's girl scout troop." Odd but we had no clue what he was really doing. In years to follow, he did not ask anymore, he would simply take the poppies after dark and then drive away. Ever since that first time, this guy, or likely others by now, would steal the pods each year -- the thieves break a few pods sprinkling seeds on the ground so there will be a plant next year.

One year my wife picked the pods, to avoid the theft that is timed to come at just the time the pods mature. The next morning the pods had been stolen, during the night, from our back yard -- the other end of the home and fenced in. How did they know? Were they watching the day before? At that point I had my curiosity piqued and wondered why anyone would want these. About then I got a computer, so I did a search of poppy pods. I found out that people take these pods -- and they smell really bad -- and make tea out of them. They are, in theory, getting high. The first reaction is "what is the point these are not opium poppies" but, apparently, all poppies have trace amounts of opiates. That is what these thieves think they are getting because, in checking with our neighbors, we find that everyone who has any poppies that are visible from the street, have this same problem. One neighbor had the thieves in her yard, late at night, breaking the plants apart. If we really were growing cash crop opiates, these thieves would probably all be pushing up daisies and not stealing our poppies. Local police have told me that they are not aware of a serious problem with poppies, other than that the thieves are trespassing and stealing and could be picked up for that.

I can only hope that, by sharing this information, I will not be mobilizing or encouraging the thousands of active rain members to get into the poppy hijacking business. I can only hope that our membership is such that I will not hear of AR members disemboweling poppies in the wee hours of the morning.

Seriously, does anyone else, know if this is happening where you live? Or is this a northwest phenomenon like Big Foot?


The pod, upper right, is about to be ripped off.

Steven L. Smith

If you enjoy nostalgia and music of yesteryear, click on Elvis' gold record to visit This Day In History. To explore The Stories Behind The Music blog posts click on the electric guitar. 







Comment balloon 5 commentsSteven L. Smith • July 08 2007 12:08PM


I have heard of the same phenomenon with angel's trumpets.  I guess it is almost like LSD or something like that and they are the most beautiful flowers!!!
Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) over 12 years ago



Around here there are those growing pot, and the magic mushrooms are a big one. The sheriff picks those people up. But the poppy snorters, brewers, seem to fly under official radar.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 12 years ago
Sorry to burst your bubble Steve, but those are also opium poppies.  They come in many colors besides the single red that you are most familiar with.  Look at the foliage and the pods; classic.
Posted by David Helm, Bellingham, Wa. Licensed Home Insp (Helm Home Inspections) over 12 years ago

Far as I can tell, from what I have read, they all have some opium in them if you squeeze or boil it out. I even read of people (druggies or wannabes) buying poppy heads at the floral shop and boiling those. Guess we better be careful on here or I might have even more night visitors. We will be accused of leading people into uncharted and illegal territory. Far as poppies, I am not too expert at opium so my bubble breaks quite easily. Gardeners have always told us that these are not traditional opium poppies.  I always think of the classic opium poppy, below. Had a neighbor who used to grow them.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 12 years ago

Steven - Haven't heard of the poppy pods...magic mushrooms, Angel's Trumpets.  Oh, what people will do.  My Mom once told me that all the Ginseng she was taking couldn't hurt her because it was a"all natural".  I explained that so is Marijuana---she cut back on the Ginseng.

Thanks for an interesting post.  And, your wife's poppies are extrordinary.  I miss the Peonies!

Posted by Marlene Bridges, Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate (Village Real Estate Services, Inc.) over 12 years ago