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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

So, There's this Garden

I bet there are gardens like this in your town to; gardens that just about everyone passes at 40 miles an hour because they're on main thoroughfares but there's something about them that makes them landmarks of sorts.  Maybe they have a large collection of whirligigs or a memorable piece of yard art; perhaps it's an expansive rose collection.   The garden I pass by several times a week and is very eye catching is what I call the kniphofia field or red hot poker land.

The house is a modest pink mid century rambler that through most of the year blends in with the neighborhood but in late spring and early summer, watch out the plants out front that look like tall grass become a blaze of orange/red and yellow.

When I speed by, I often wonder who planted all of these.  Does he or she still live in the house?  

Did this field start with one plant that was repeatedly divided or were many planted all at once?

It sure beats a lawn any day and it brings a smile every time I pass.

These African natives seem right at home in our gardens and certainly in this one!   The buds look a little like mushrooms.

Do you pass a garden that makes you smile, giggle, or feel a little better for having seen the obsession of another gardener?


The space is larger than it appears in these images.  This is an entire front yard!





If you were to plant your entire front garden with a single plant, what would it be?

 Thank you to whoever planted all of these and cares for them each year so that so many Tacomans can enjoy their cheery presence each year!

40 comments:

  1. Oh yes, and we ought to take the time to stop and take a pic or two. That's quite a memorable sight, having a large patch of flowering Kniphofia in the front garden, looks nice like that!

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    1. It's very bright and grabs one's attention when driving by!

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  2. What a great garden! I wonder how it looks the rest of the year? I've always loved the flowers of Kniphofia (and so do the hummingbirds), but in my conditions at least the foliage always ends up looking terribly messy. Last year I planted Terra Nova's 'Mango Popsicle' which is supposed to be compact and everblooming, but I'm a bit skeptical. The plant is still small so I'll give it another year before yanking it out, as I've done with so many other Kniphofias!

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    1. If I'm remembering correctly, it look a bit like a field of ornamental grass. I'll pay closer attention the rest of this year.

      Mango Popsicle didn't live through its first winter in my garden. Of course that could be because it got so little water during the summer.

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  3. Great garden but I wonder what it looks like the rest of the year? I've always loved Kniphofia for its flowers (as do the hummingbirds!) but under my conditions at least, the foliage always ends up looking ratty and messy.

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    1. I'll have to check back later in the year!

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  4. I've never even SEEN Kniphofia before!
    If I could have one plant all over, it would be lavender.....
    Wonder how THAT would work?????

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    1. Oh, I've seen lavender gardens that are stunning not to mention the heavenly smell! Go ahead, replace your lawn with lavender!

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  5. There's one in our neighborhood--every year, the homeowner plants corn and dahlias in the front yard. A couple of rows of corn all across the front, fronted by a couple of rows of dahlias.

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    1. Fun! What a great celebration of the joys of high summer, dahlias and corn on the cob. Sounds delightful to me.

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  6. A field of Red Hot Pokers, how does one decide to plant just one kind of plant? They divide easily so the owner may have started with just a few. Wonder why there isn't something for the rest of the year when the pokers are not at their best? Kniphofia has so many choices with which to grow that look so grand.

    Many of us are going crazy trying to have blooms and fragrance year 'round. Maybe that gardener is like the neighbors we used to have who never dressed up and went anywhere except for two weeks in the summer when they packed up their glad rags and went on an ocean cruise.

    I'm glad I don't have to choose just one plant. Too many are never enough in my garden. If I really had to choose, it would probably be something edible like blueberries which are just staring to ripen now.

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    1. I'm with you on the blooms and fragrance year round thing. So much to appreciate in every season of the year!

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  7. It does look rather fabulous right now, but my Kniphofias do get very ugly legs later in the year, when the lower leaves get all brown and mushy. Someone must do the upkeep on them, but it probably isn't any more work-intensive than my own garden, which requires weeding and cutting back pretty much year-round. I could never ever choose just one plant. I bet the hummers love it, I watched one eating from mine just yesterday. For once it didn't seem to mind me being near.

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    1. Didn't see any hummers here but they might have been full by early evening and at home watching bird T.V. or whatever they do when they're not amusing us.

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  8. Wow! What a view!
    I know one person who had a whole front garden of dahlias. People stopped their cars and admired the flowers. Many people wanted to buy some flowers and always got them free. When the house was sold, there were many disappointed neighbors and just strangers. I am afraid the dahlia garden doesn't exist any more...

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    1. There is a dahlia garden similar to the one you described in Tacoma, not far from Jungle Fever Nursery. It's spectacular when the dahlias and many pots of annuals bloom but rather ho hum the rest of the year.

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  9. That's crazy fun! Of course I have questions. Are the two trees dead or were they just cut back hard? And does there appear to be any logic to single pampas grass?

    I could never do an entire planting of one type of plant, even agaves!

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    1. The trees looked mostly dead. There were other plants in some areas beneath the red hot pokers to keep something happening through the rest of the year. Don't understand the pampas grass at all but it does add interest in the fall.

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  10. If the house was a different color I think I would love this. And I'll echo Loree--what's with the single pampas stalk?!

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    1. The juxtaposition of that pink and the hot colors of the flowers tickles me even though it's not the best combination. Perhaps we should sneak over some night and paint their house.

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  11. I couldn't plant my front garden with only one flower or plant, Peter. I'd love kniphofia in one spot. This garden is funny!

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    1. We both love many different plants too much to have a front garden with just one kind of plant. Happy Wednesday, Nadezda!

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  12. Mass plantings certainly make an impression. The closest equivalent I can think of within my own commute range is a house fronted by a mass of Plumeria trees - I haven't actually counted them but I'd guess there are a dozen trees. It's pretty sad looking when all of them are bare of leaves but it looks fabulous when they come into bloom each summer.

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  13. What an unexpected show!
    Similar to a request I made to a different home you showed us recently, I would like to see this yard when the hot-pokers aren't in full glory (a theme for a post is brewing here...)
    If I had to pick just one plant it will have to be gorgeous and interesting year round! Otherwise, how can one stand it? That said, I'd take the hot-pokers display to a Dandelion carpet. Each neighborhood has a few of those, right?

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    1. I love passing this garden. When it's in bloom it's way cool. I will make a point of visiting both gardens again in their off seasons!

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  14. Love the kniphofia enthusiasm -- a little bit of the veldt in the PNW!

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  15. Love it! I also wonder what the story is. It's not like most people would ever think of having an entire front yard of kniphofias. As you said: Did it all start with just one plant? You've got to find out for all of us :-).

    If I had a yard full of just one type of plant, it would be agaves. That's a no-brainer for me.

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    1. I'll do my best to uncover the mystery of that garden!
      There is so much variety of color and form that a yard full of agaves would be glorious!

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  16. Interesting garden. While I'm not a huge kniphofia fan in my own garden, it totally works here. Kudos to the owners.

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    1. I think a G.P. pink garden would work nicely in front of this pink house but I do love the kniphofias there too!

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  17. Tony Avent would no doubt call it a Kniphofia ghetto, but I like it. My favorite scene from the movie The Queen had a long border of kniphofia in the background. Closest I have ever come to what I prefer to think of as "sweeps" involved iris, and, more recently, Phlomus. Both came about over time by dividing an especially generous mother plant.

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    1. It works. Love The Queen! sweeps, drifts, etc. are beautiful!

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  18. Wow! With all those red hot pokers I feel like there should be little devils hopping around through the leaves. Maybe they could add some yard art? lol

    I could never choose just one plant to fill an entire yard. Could you?

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    1. Oh please, It's hard enough for me to choose one plant to fill a pot! If one were gardening on a large scale, things like camellia groves, laburnum walks, kniphofia borders work because there's lots of room for other treasures but in my small garden, I like a little bit of everything. Thus chaos reigns in the Outlaw Garden!

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  19. How fun. and I like all your questions. It makes me wonder too.

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  20. I can´t imagine so many kniphofias together in a garden. It must be stunning. It makes me think about what nature usually does.

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    1. It does look much like what nature does indeed!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.