Tag Archives: flamenco

In the Blink of an Eye

8 Jun

At this time of year, every day brings some new development in the garden. You take each change into account, bit by bit. But when you are away for an extended time, as I was recently for work, you come back and feel that those changes occurred far too quickly–how did that peony bloom in such a short time? Where did that red-hot poker come from?

All this was driven home to me yesterday, when my youngest son graduated from high school. How did that happen so quickly? Now, like his two brothers before him, he will follow his own path, and we will no longer see those day-to-day changes. But we will continue to admire the growth and the blooming. Luckily, our daughter is still at home for one more year. And the garden will remain, though it, too, undergoes constant and rapid metamorphoses.

Before I left for my two-week trip, the brand-new peonies I had planted were only in bud; when I returned, the blooms were already spent. I never did see what the full flowers looked like–I will have to save that treat for next year.

Peony (Kansas)
The new roses I had planted last month were also just beginning to bud, but since they bloom for months, I was able to see the flowers when I got back.

Hybrid Tea Rose (Love and Peace)
And finally, I caught the Red Hot Pokers just in time; now, their color is fading and the flower spikes are drying up. Here is one seen from above and in full bloom.

Red Hot Poker (Flamenco)

Succulents: Aloe

12 Jan

Upon arriving in San Diego just before Christmas, one of the first things I noticed was a profusion of striking Red Hot Pokers in flower; they were everywhere, or so I thought. Upon closer inspection, I realized they weren’t Red Hot Pokers. Or were they? The  dark-orange spires I saw everywhere in San Diego were aloes. And the Red Hot Pokers I know and love (and have in my garden) are kniphofias.  Both plants are originally from Africa, and the flowers look remarkably similar.  But one is a succulent, and the other is not.

When most people talk about Red Hot Pokers, they mean kniphofias, which feature clumps of grass-like leaves.  Aloe plants have thick and frequently spiky foliage; you can snap off a piece of aloe vera and apply the soothing gel to burns. But some people refer to both aloes and kniphofias  as Red Hot Pokers. And in fact, the  genus Kniphofia is very closely related to the genus Aloe.

Here are three photos of aloes in bloom in San Diego in January, plus an inadvertent (and less than ideal) photo taken this past May in my garden of a Red Hot Poker Flamenco — a kniphofia — next to a Foxglove.


Aloe                                                            Kniphofia (with Foxglove on left)

And an aloe that doesn’t look like a Red Hot Poker: Aloe Saponaria