Don’t these just make you smile? They are on the gardener’s favorite list at the moment for a couple of reasons. Firstly Kniphofia rooperi comes into flower just when you need a bit of light entertainment, when many other plants are beginning to look a little tired and getting ready for their winter rest. Secondly they are such a great dumpy shape compared to others in their genus, you just have to love them. They stand up in the teeth of gale, not moving an inch and in the last couple of weeks this has been tested to the extreme. They are named after the wonderfully monikered Johann Hieronymys Kniphof, an 18th century German botanist. In their native Africa hummingbirds feed on their nectar. This group came from a ripped up piece given to us by a gardener at Exeter University botanic garden and has established well over the last couple of years. We also grow K. “Tawny King” which flowers much earlier in the season and K. “Green Jade” which has just finished, both I can highly recommend. But then I can also highly recommend peanut butter and banana sandwiches which may not be to everybody’s taste.
Possibly the only similarity we have with the Queen here at Cliffe is that we have two birthdays, a real birthday and a work birthday. Today was Hero’s work birthday and we celebrated with a lovely lunch at the Grampus with Josh and the Damages. We then went to see the Rodgersia Queen who, much to our excitement, gave us rodgersia seedlings (I’m talking 2ft tall baby giants here) which she has named after each of us. Fame at last!