A few Nerines

Dave Poole daverpoole@hotmail.com
Fri, 05 Nov 2010 07:53:12 PDT
I only have a very few Nerines, but those that are here have put on a good display again this autumn.  The first to flower is always a fine red sarniensis, which I 've grown outside for the past 4 or 5 years.  It is in a pot and largely ignored for much of the time.  I don't worry about the bulbs getting wet in summer although they often get a good baking since I have the pot in an exposed position.  Even last winter's unusually cold spell failed to damage the bulbs or leaves and the clump managed 8 spikes this year, the first opening in late September with the last still open.  

A clump of ordinary bowdenii started flowering during October and are still holding their own.  This is by far the commonest species grown here in the UK and it is not unusual to see long borders filled with them, forming a mass of many hundreds of flower heads at this time of year.  I'm never quite sure about the colour, but can't deny they add to the autumn scene.  There's a bruiser of a bowdenii hybrid that I had and now want to plant in this garden.  It is 'Zeal Giant', which is like bowdenii on steroids and an absolute show-stopper whenever it flowers.  Happily, it seems quite hardy given gravelly soil and planty of sun.  

Currently, N. flexuosa 'alba' is looking very flashy with its pert, tightly clustered, crystalline white flowers on 30-40 cms stems.  I started off with a single small bulb a few years ago and it is developing into a good clump.  It gets much the same treatment as sarniensis and seems to thrive on neglect.  This Nerine appears to be remarkably hardy here and even though the bulbs are almost completely exposed, no damage was incurred during a week of sub-zero temperatures, which nearly froze the pots.  

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