Thursday, December 4, 2008
Red Hot Pokers
These showy flowers, Kniphofia, defy the seasons and brighten up the darkening days of December. They are native to Africa, but have been growing in Mendocino county for at least a century. Like the spuria irises I mentioned before, they were planted around some of the hotels and farmsteads. I remember when my grandfather had wrought iron fireplace tools, and if you left the "poker" stuck in the fire and coals, it would turn this orange-red color. His house was on the site of an old stagecoach hotel, and one of these grew below a nearby redwood.