NoH2O wrote: I grow most of them in a section of my cutting garden that is about 5' x 10'. I have an assortment of spring bulbs (tulips, daffodils, alliums, etc.) growing there. The poppies start growing as the bulb foliage is dying down. I put narrow pole stakes at each corner and at the middle of the 10' long sides of the bed and connect the poles with velcro tape. This acts like a fence to hold the poppies along the perimeter up. They are sown so thickly that they do support each other throughout the rest of the bed. When they start looking really ratty, I pull them up. I may plant some fast-growing annuals or some salad greens in the bed then.
I always have a few plants that show up here and there in other beds. I do put in narrow pole stakes and use velcro tape to keep each plant upright. They are harder to stake when they are fully grown because the stems become brittle and break easily.
I agree with you - it would be great if they had a longer season. Maybe we appreciate them more because their season is so short!
I also grow oriental poppies. They bloom before the Shirley poppies and help extend the poppy season. Because they are perennials, you only have to plant them once, which is nice.
The pictures below are some of my orientals in May. If you haven't grown them, I highly recommend them.