Because my few kniphofias did surprisingly well last year I have added a few more this spring, which have still to get established and make their mark. It is up to the year-old plants to provide colour. And ‘Prince Igor’ sometimes known as ‘Nobilis’ is doing his best. He is quite a muscular Royal with leathery, coarse leaves, unlike the grassy foliage of more fashionable kinds, but the reward is huge flower stems. Last year he grew to 1.5m but the first scapes this year are a good 2m high and the fiery orange flowers, that age to yellow, can be seen from around the garden, burning bright. These flowers are surprisingly early but there are more scapes coming up from the clumps so the display should go on for a lot longer. I know that kniphofias are not universally popular but they are hard to beat for fiery colour, and they just scream ‘look at me’. Just remember to remove the dead flowers promptly which are, without question, ugly.
I was standing in the garden yesterday when I heard a scraping noise and, after trying to track down the sound, found a wasp munching away on the base of an old flower scape of another kniphofia. I have often seen them munching on rough-sawn timber furniture or trellis before but never on a kniphofia. It seems a perfect way to recycle since wasps often visit the flowers because they are a rich source of sweet nectar.
On a smaller scale my little pots are starting to fill out. I have not planted many patio pots, largely because the patio is still not laid! But I overwintered some of my bulbines and used these in the centre of the pots, surrounded by French marigolds and orange sanvitalia, raised from seed. Simple, but easy to grow and look after.
And while they are waiting for the big pond to be lined, and to be repotted, the waterlilies are ticking over in their ‘holding area’. I think for the first time they all produced a flower on the same day, reminding me of what I had bought (several years ago). I am as desperate as they are for them to be planted in their big pond and to have a richer diet so they can fulfill their potential.