Wednesday, July 02, 2008


My friend Ann is a master gardener and so when she is excited about a plant you pay attention. Last week she was excited. Growing in a vacant lot of disturbed land (construction at the site was interrupted by an archaeologically significant ruin found when they started digging) in the middle of Sarajevo across from the National Theater were these beautiful white and lavender flowers.


Opium poppies. The kind from which powerful drugs are derived.

Ann has been looking keenly at and photographing the flora around here for years and had never seen these growing before. They are not native to the place, she said.

So we asked some questions. A local botanist told us, nah, poppies grow everywhere and there's no guarantee they are really opium poppies (an idea Ann rejects). The police said what, are you crazy, it's just a few flowers. So our reporters laughed at the idea of doing any kind of story.

This week, oddly, however, the vacant lot is mowed. No more poppies.

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