Saturday, 8 February 2014

Hunting Kniphofia


I need to grow Kniphofia but to be able to do that I need to extend the garden - in that order, though in fairness I've been meaning to extend le jardin for a couple of years but just haven't got around to doing it for one reason or another (time really).

Red hot pokers provide the motivation. I always remember seeing a small private garden in Cork, Ireland some years ago that was full of pokers 'bobbing' amongst grasses and thinking that the whole effect was just superb.

So I've lined the path which leads past Le Tournesol with stone that Karen and I hunted out in the fields around, I needed to do that in order to raise the 'border', and next week will order about 4.5 cubic metres of topsoil.  It's work I would of preferred to avoid, but it's necessary as the weedy grass that grows there currently does so on about 6 cms. of soil with an unfeasibly thick layer of old castine (gravel) underneath as I guess the entire area was gravel many moons ago and would have been re-gravelled many times over.


Back to the kniphofia, and I've had zero luck locating K. caulescens here in France. This poker has possibly the best foliage of them all and as such is a must. I eventually found them online for mail order through Toby Buckland nurseries - as in Toby Buckland, the ex Gardeners' World presenter -  at a fiver (sterling) apiece. The only snag was the Royal Mail postage to France which was price prohibitive, but luckily there is a small logistics company I have used in the past who brought them down at a sensible cost.


Along with the pokers I ordered five bare roots of Asphodeline lutea, a tall, yellow flowered meditterranean plant, together with a rose, Rosa Alissar, Princess of Phoenicia and have to say that, by a country mile, these were the biggest, healthiest bare root plants I've ever received.  I was like a kid in a sweet shop opening the box. Enormous great roots wrapped in damp newspaper which I've potted straight on until I'm ready to put them in the garden.


Even Henri, my 9 month old kitten was taken aback with the quality of the roots.

The plant list needs to be finalised, but other pokers and various Panicum, Stipa and Pennisetum will be in there.

To be continued....

10 comments:

  1. Looking forward to the final results.

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    1. Thanks. You, me the same. I imagine hot Summer days and walking down the path next to it. Hopefully the masterplan will work out and it will look beautiful, though I guess year 2 will be when it really starts to fill out.

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  2. Can't wait to see them this summer!

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    1. Thanks Sweetbay. I can't wait for summer fullstop. Enough of this dreary February weather.

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  3. The plants look fantastic. Like you say the Asphodeline lutea bare roots are gorgeous. Where are you planning to plant the kniphofia - in that walled garden (first photo)?

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    1. Thanks Patty. Yes it's all for the walled garden in the first photo. The plants are fine specimens.

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  4. Love the wall Rob which you must be looking forward to planting up with those sturdy plants. Had forgotten that Toby Buckland had opened a nursery so must check it out. Look forward to seeing more photos of this new planting area and of course more of Henri who looks a lively character.

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    1. Hi Anna. I reccommend Toby's nursery - if you do order, I'm sure you will not be dissappointed.

      Henri, along with his brother are the cutest things on the planet. We got them from a 'rescue' place last summer.

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  5. Wow lovely planting idea, if it wasn't for R. alissar it could easily be a lovely drift of natural veldt in the mountains of South Africa. It is a very beautiful rose that one, almost a peony.

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    1. Thanks River P. The rose is for somewhere else. I'll start planting the border up next week.

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