Best of the bunch

Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE -

KNIPHOFIA (Red Hot Poker):

Kniphofias add a touch of the ex­otic to the late summer border, their bright warm orange and yel­low ‘torch’ flow­ers stand­ing on top of sturdy, up­right stems and pro­vid­ing a fo­cal point as long as they are not swamped by taller evergreen fo­liage.

But red hot pok­ers are not al­ways red hot. There are yel­low va­ri­eties such as ‘Brim­stone’ which con­trast well against purple asters, while more com­pact, front-of-border va­ri­eties in­clude ‘Lit­tle Maid’, which has cream pok­ers.

For more clas­sic types, which are half yel­low and half orange or red, check out K. rooperi, which grows to 1.5m (5ft) or K. uvaria ‘No­bilis’, which is huge, late-flow­er­ing and evergreen, with tra­di­tional red and yel­low torches. In spring, cut out dead flower spikes and pull out old leaves to keep the plants tidy, and di­vide them if they have be­come over­crowded.

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