A blooming swath of red-hot pokers (aka torch lily, aka Kniphofia) caught my eye last November. Seriously – November!
That seems crazy. Its broad, strappy foliage looks like the Kniphofia that blooms in our garden in May– six months earlier. Who knew there were such varieties? And how can I get some??
In the cool overcast of autumn, these kniphofia flowers stand up much longer than our spring bloomers.
When it started to snow on Christmas Eve, I was concerned. On Christmas Day the snow sparkled on the garden, stating to the world that winter is here.
In my experience, snow cover is the tipping point when red-hot pokers disintegrate into a slimy mess. (Fortunately, they come back in spring! Some Kniphofia are actually cold hardy to zone 5 – that’s to -25 C 🙂 I can’t you imagine them growing in the Tiffindel ski area of South Africa, but apparently that’s home. )
By Boxing Day the snow was gone. I was ecstatic. Don’t get me wrong – there is something magical about a White Christmas – – but followed with a Green Boxing Day is perfection!
Mysteriously all the Kniphofia survived, leaves and all! Now I’m curious to know precisely which temperature induces their disintegration.
In Victoria, we have a School-Based Weather Network. Most schools host tech monitoring the individual climatic pockets around town. It’s very handy. There’s a station just a block away. I like to confirm rainfall & temperatures uber-locally, and not count on the information coming out of Victoria Airport 25 km away.
As it turns out, the temperatures through the storm barely dipped a degree below freezing. We had plenty of mornings like that through December, just without the snow. Perhaps it’s temperatures like -5 or -10 C that knocks the Kniphofia back? we get those temperatures here, but rarely. Any idea?
Now, at the end of January, the blooms around the corner from us are just wrapping up. It’s amazing really: 3 months of color. I admit they’re looking a bit ratty, but in January, I’m desperate for flowers. 🙂