Papaver somniferum, the Victoria Cross poppy is a remarkable flower with a fringed petal and a white cross in the middle. Once seen never forgotten. Fragile but memorable. It was named after the highest British military decoration awarded for valor “in the face of the enemy” by Queen Victoria during the Crimean War. It takes precedence over all other orders, decorations and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank, in any service, and to civilians under military command.
In 2007 the charity Gardening Leave was founded in England to focus on the mental health of veterans. Every year since that time they have grown the Victoria Cross poppy in remembrance of our origins and the bravery of the veterans they wish to help. Every year veterans collect the seeds, bag them up and sell them to raise money for Gardening Leave – and so the process continues.