Little or large, kniphofias have it!

In a trice I whipped out my secateurs from their holster faster than a gunslinger in the Wild West...

Kniphofia 'Tawny King' makes a strong statement in the Main Borders at Harlow Carr in JulyHave you noticed how plants have a habit of creeping up on you? Whilst my back was turned – for a fraction of time it seemed to me – the Artemesia ludoviciana ‘Valerine Finnis’ and my Berkheya multijuga had joined forces and flopped all over my diminuitive Kniphofia triangularis subsp. triangularis ‘Light of the World’.

(Unlike K. 'Tawny King' which is more vigorous, making a bold statement in the Main Borders in July - see photo, above).

This is a dainty little kniphofia which I planted in the Mediterranean border last year, and it did really well. It came through the winter (albeit not a harsh winter admittedly) and now was doing its best to struggle up past the other two. In a trice I whipped out my secateurs from their holster faster than a gun slinger in the Wild West and all too soon there was a pile of plant debris building up behind me. Cutting back the Artemesia was actually very pleasant as new growth has sprung up from the base anyway and I was surrounded by a lovely aromatic scent as I snipped and cut my way back to reveal the new growth.

Kniphofia 'Yellow Hammer' Slieve DonnardThe Berkheya was another kettle of fish as it was very prickly and so I cut the spent flower spikes off that very gingerly. A little bit of weeding where a couple of dandelions thought they could sneak in unnoticed and the job was completed to my satisfaction.

Closer inspection of the little kniphofias revealed some flower spikes just emerging so that was a reward itself. Further down the Mediterranean border and another kniphofia is saying ‘show time’ to everyone: Kniphofia ‘Yellow Hammer’ Slieve Donard (see photo, left). This rich yellow-coloured, orange-tipped kniphofia is looking at its glorious best just now.

A very important event we have had in the garden this week is our volunteer thank you, where they were all invited in for an informal presentation, coffee cake, and a tour of the garden. This all seemed to go down very well, and the weather was beautiful.

We have over 100 volunteers on site across all the departments and without them we couldn’t function as efficiently as we do, so a big thank you from me to any of them reading this - it was a very enjoyable morning.

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