This spring, I added two red-hot pokers, Kniphofia hirsuta ‘Fire Dance’, to the red and gold border. They were blooming when I purchased them, and I wasn’t expecting anything more from them this year. I was very pleased, therefore, when both plants threw up a few more pokers for the fall season. The flowers of Fire Dance are more traditionally coloured than those of Shining Sceptre, and the scapes are much shorter. While those of Shining Sceptre reached 5 feet, Fire Dance is a good plant for a rock garden or the front of the border, standing only about 20 inches tall.
Across the yard from Fire Dance is Ice Dance, a sedge. Sedges are similar to grasses, forming clumps of foliage. They mostly prefer moist, shady conditions, but will tolerate some sun. About a foot tall, Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’ has attractive green leaf blades trimmed with white and makes a good foil for hostas. It is rated as a slow spreader. I have just a couple of clumps used as specimens, but you can mass Ice Dance to form a tidy ground cover.