Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Rocket's Red Glare

Think twice before purchasing a house next to a family with teenage boys.

They pull out the heavy artillery on July 1st and it's non-stop, nightly action until they've depleted their entire supply of aerial repeaters, sky missiles and poopa-troopers.

My firecrackers are somewhat quieter.

Red Hot Pokers*
are as in tune to the calendar as the neighbor's boys.

Like bottle rockets shooting for the heavens they appear in unison, celebrating their own special independence come July. Better than potato salad: bold, brassy Red Hot Pokers make a delightful summer picnic for hummingbirds.

Divide & Conquer:
I have the patience of a flea when it comes to doting on plants to encourage a flower.

That's why I love my Red Hot Pokers. I snitched one from Lori's garden a few years back and crossed my fingers it would flourish at higher altitudes. It has. All of these Pokers (aka Torch Lilies) began with one little stalk ripped off from a dear friend.

Summer Sparklers:
Not big on weird orange and yellow things taking over your garden? Then howsabout a sparkler or two?

Utahns are throwing a major hissy fit this year because the drought conditions are so high that even sparklers are outlawed. Try planting some that won't threaten the parched meadows. Allium schubertii had a number of bit parts on Star Trek TNG. They're just that cool.

* Find a place in your heart for Odd Bulbs.

* Kniphofia uvaria (Red Hot Poker, or Torch Lily) provide a dramatic display around the 4th of July. Orange, yellow and coral red flower spikes reach 2-5 feet at maturity. USDA zones 5-10. Available at Gurney's and other perennial nurseries. This Summer Sparkler strikes it's best pose in a vase.

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