Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My love/hate relationship with Kniphofia

Kniphofia, aka Red Hot Pokers or torch lilies, have pretty much taken over a wide swath of my front garden. 

This is a plant that looks better in the catalog than the garden (at least, my garden.) I grew them originally because one of my favorite personages, Vita Sackville-West, liked them and grew them at Sissinghurst. I’ve decided to remove them, in large part because they are over-sized for the area they are in, they keep spreading, and the foliage is quite expansive. Being natives of South Africa, they demand plenty of space. The first batch I dug out was encroaching on a boxwood (to the left in photo above) and removing them was quite a chore. I was digging under the box before I got all the kniphofia roots.  I was fearful that kniphofia might be like yucca, which regenerates if even the smallest sliver of root is left in the ground. After about 2 weeks, I have seen no signs of new plants emerging. So far, so good. Kniphofia does make quite a statement--maybe I should try some in a large pot? Or give them their own bed at the end of the lawn?  They would look stunning growing with purple and gold bearded irises...

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