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Posts Tagged: red hot poker

Gesundheit!

I have always been impressed with the drama of hot pokers, Kniphofia.  However several things held me back from purchasing them. First I don't like buying plants whose names I can't pronounce and Kniphofia ( knee fof ee a ) has had me stymied for a long time.  When I was Googling  Kniphofia, one of the first categories that came up was pronunciation, so I don't think I am alone.  To me the name sounds like a sneeze; I get this uncontrollable urge to say "Gesundheit " every time I hear someone say it.


Secondly, most of the plants I have admired have been very large, with mounds of foliage reaching three to four feet high and sometimes five to eight feet wide and that's not even counting the blooms.  I have a small front yard and a small border area available so I thought I would have to forgo a hot poker. (Note, in researching this article I found the most charming turn of phrase on the Digging Dog Nurserysite.  Instead of calling a garden small, they called it space-thrifty.)


But then at Annie's Annuals I found Kniphofia 'Wol's Red Seedling'.  This hybrid was carefully bred in England. Kniphofias are originally from South Africa, but were brought to England in the 1800s and are very popular there. This little darling has leaves that top out at a foot and flower spikes to two feet. It has a brilliant red color that is described by several sites as the reddest of all the pokers.  They mentioned it could even be grown in a container. You guessed it, I brought one home.


I tucked it in the front yard in the border by the faux dry stream bed, amongst the 'Stella d'Oro' dwarf day-lilies and the lavender.  The first summer it had three small blooms and I was a little discouraged.  This year I have six blooms already, and the plant looks lovely, especially with the afternoon sun back-lighting it.


Kniphofias are deer resistant.They can handle clay soil, as long as it drains well. They are drought tolerant but do like water when the blooms are forming. If it is too dry at that point they will not bloom.

Kniphofia 'Wol's Red Seedling'. (photos by Karen Metz)
Kniphofia 'Wol's Red Seedling'. (photos by Karen Metz)

DSCN2663
DSCN2663

Posted on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 9:50 AM

It's No Vegetarian

Bee specialists like to point out that the yellowjacket is a carnivore and the honey bee is a vegetarian. They are, indeed. The yellowjacket is an...

Western yellowjacket (Vespula penyslvanica) heading toward a red-hot poker (but this variety is yellow). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Western yellowjacket (Vespula penyslvanica) heading toward a red-hot poker (but this variety is yellow). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Western yellowjacket (Vespula penyslvanica) heading toward a red-hot poker (but this variety is yellow). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Western yellowjacket buries its head in a tubular flower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Western yellowjacket buries its head in a tubular flower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Western yellowjacket buries its head in a tubular flower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Western yellowjacket foraging. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Western yellowjacket foraging. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Western yellowjacket foraging. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Western yellowjacket assumes the shape of a comma. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Western yellowjacket assumes the shape of a comma. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Western yellowjacket assumes the shape of a comma. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bottoms up--western yellowjacket moves away from the camera. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Bottoms up--western yellowjacket moves away from the camera. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bottoms up--western yellowjacket moves away from the camera. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 10:53 PM

What's Up, Cuz?

Country cousins.  Honey bees and ants belong to the same order, Hymenoptera, and occasionally you see them together. Such was the case today in the...

Honey Bee and an Ant
Honey Bee and an Ant

HONEY BEE and an Argentine ant share a red-hot poker in the Storer Garden, UC Davis Arboretum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Nectaring on Lavender
Nectaring on Lavender

HONEY BEE nectars a red hot poker, while a close cousin, an Argentine ant (far left), tucks itself among the petals. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 6:58 PM
Tags: Argentine ant (1), honey bee (241), Phil Ward (36), red hot poker (3)

Good Dose of Christmas Cheer

Definitely a good dose of Christmas Cheer!In the plant world, that would be the Kniphofia “Christmas Cheer," also known as "red-hot poker." On a...

Foraging
Foraging

A SOLITARY HONEY BEE forages among the Christmas Cheer, also known as Knipofia "Christmas Cheer' or "red-hot poker." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Cleaning Her Tongue
Cleaning Her Tongue

HONEY BEE on the Christmas Cheer takes time to clean her tongue. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Christmas Cheer
Christmas Cheer

CHRISTMAS CHEER (Kniphofia) or "red-hot poker" is a UC Davis Arborteum All-Star. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, December 25, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Christmas Cheer

I always thought the red-hot poker was primarily red. Not. This one in the Storer Gardens at the University of California, Davis, was mostly...

Honey Bee
Honey Bee

BEELINE--A pollen-packed honey bee makes a beeline for a red-hot poker, variety "Christmas Cheer," in the Storer Gardens at UC Davis. The date: Dec. 20, five days before Christmas. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Red-Hot Poker in Storer Gardens
Red-Hot Poker in Storer Gardens

RED-HOT POKER--The red-hot poker, variety "Christmas Cheer," brightens the Storer Gardens at UC Davis. A bench awaits visitors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, December 25, 2008 at 7:02 AM

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