Friday, November 04, 2011

Torch Lily

Torch Lily
Synonyms: Red Hot Poker, Tritoma

This dramatic little flower was blooming at the NYBG two weeks ago when I visited the Kiku exhibit. I never knew that they often bloom again in the fall.

Last year when shopping for mums I noticed a pallet of perennials sitting off to the side and asked about them. They were for sale for a dollar each (and looked like they were worth about that). There were a few of the more traditional red/orange types of Kniphofia on the pallet and I decided to take three plants. My track record with the genus had been less than stellar but I figured for that amount of money it was worth another try. After installing them in a perennial border and giving a little extra winter protection (mulch) I promptly forgot about them. This spring they grew and flowered beautifully. The flowers were near the Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) and seemed to distract the Hummingbirds from their usual daily visits to the Monarda. Once again nature and plants were showing me something new. My previous failures with this plant were due to bad drainage I think.

There are quite a few species and cultivars available for Kniphofia. Here is a link to a page with a lot of them.

The cleanup continues at the Estate. I couldn’t even bring myself to take pictures of the damage. The Kousa Dogwood, Azalea and dwarf evergreen collections seem to have made it okay but the Rhododendron collection took a bad hit. We did have to remove one tree yesterday as it was damaged beyond saving. The Dragon-claw Willow (Salix babylonicaTortuosa’) was just too messed up.

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