Kniphofia is often known as Red Hot Poker. Many varieties have scapes topped with orangey-red cones of tubular flowers, and it is easy to see how their common name came about. However, the kniphofia cultivar I added to the garden last year, Kniphofia ‘Shining Sceptre’ is more yellow and orange, and in the evening sun it really does shine. Although it is listed as 3 to 4 feet tall, my flower scapes are about 5 feet now, standing well above the clump of grassy foliage at their base. Kniphofia is a native of South Africa. The name Kniphofia honors Johann Hieronymus Kniphof (1704 -1763), a German physician and botanist.
Here’s Shining Sceptre in the late summer garden, set off by blue agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ and Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ and coreopsis grandiflor ‘Baby Sun’.
Kniphofia ‘Shining Sceptre’ was a 1998 Blooms of Bressingham introduction. Alan Bloom (1907-2005)…what a great name for a nurseryman!…bought Bressingham Hall in Norfolk, England in 1946 and founded a gardening business that would flourish for many years. Alan’s sons Robert and Adrian joined the business as young men. In 2007 Blooms of Bressingham was taken over and merged with the larger Wyevale chain of garden centres.
Home gardeners owe many great introductions to the Blooms and you may find the Bressingham name represented in your own yard. Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, which blooms close by to Shining Sceptre in my garden, is another Bressingham hybrid. It was bred in 1966 by Alan Bloom. Also nearby is Achillea ‘Moonshine’, a 1950s introduction.