MANTUA — The poppy patch near Mantua is in full bloom during the month of June. The vivid reds are attracting people from all over Northern Utah. The best way to get to the flowers is to follow the signs to Box Elder Campground. It is on the south side of the campground.
Many people were taking photos of the beautiful flowers on Monday afternoon. People from professional photographers, families, and friends were there to take pictures of the beautiful scenery.
One man from Arizona was out with his telephoto lenses photographing the red flowers. He knew about the beautiful poppies because he had spent summers at Utah State University.
Kellie Funk of Pleasant View had seen pictures taken of the poppies and brought her two daughters Kennedy and Savannah. It’s Kennedy’s senior year of high school, giving Kellie an opportunity to photograph her senior student.
“I knew they were here, but I didn’t realize how close it was,” Kelly says. “It is beautiful here.”
About 10 families were tromping through the tiny trails to get the best shots. Someone said the flowers should still be in bloom until the end of the month.
Lifelong Mantua resident Terry Nelson, a retired seminary teacher, was out hoeing the garden next to his grandfather’s house that he lives in. He said the house was built in 1873. If anyone knew the origin of the poppies, a longtime resident of Mantua should.
“The story I’ve been told about the poppies goes back to one of the early settlers of Mantua,” Nelson explains. “Danish immigrant Hans Rasmussen’s wife brought some seeds from Denmark and planted them.”
Nelson says there was a barn and a house on the hill above the patch. He thought Rasmussen owned the ground area where the Box Elder Campground is and donated it to the Forest Service.
“The poppies have always been there, but people have just started to come to see them,” Nelson says. “They must be a pretty hardy plant as easy as they grow. The don’t get watered or cared for and they grow anyway.”
The poppies are starting to become as popular as Mantua Reservoir, which is just across the street from the Nelson’s.
“They’ve become a tourist attraction,” Nelson says. “We get a lot of people driving through town to find them.”
Red poppy fields were inspiring back in WWI history. A Canadian physician, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields.” This poem describes a battlefield where red poppies grew and was the resting place of soldiers that died there. He wrote it in tribute to a fallen soldier and friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, after presiding over the funeral. It became one of the more popular poems of the World War I era.
The poppies are colorful; going to the fields are great for someone looking for a summer adventure with children. There are plenty of trails that go through the flowers and lots of room to take pictures, though parking may be limited at times.