Nerine Hybrids

John Grimshaw
Mon, 01 Dec 2008 10:21:50 PST
Jim Shields asked about Nerine hybrids.

A number of breeders have made hybrids between N. sarniensis and bowdenii, 
with the obvious intention of combining the colours of the first with the 
hardiness of the latter. The most diligent breeder was the late Terry Jones 
of Zeal Monachorum, Devon, who had a breeding programme going back several 
decades and numerous generations. Some of his progeny are on the market in 
the UK, e.g. the spectacular tall 'Zeal Giant' with big bright pink flowers 
and shorter  'Zeal Salmon' and 'Zeal Grilse' with more salmony shades. Terry 
died a couple of years ago but left the entire breeding programme and stock 
to Matt Bishop (of snowdrop fame), who now works on them at the Garden 
House, Buckland Monachorum (lots of monks in Devon, evidently). Some of the 
colours are fantastic, including the dark purple of 'Zeal Plum' and various 
salmony shades, but none of the Zeal hybrids have scarlet flowers. 
'Afterglow' is a commercially available hybrid, I forgot from which breeder, 
with quite good red flowers, but it is strongly winter growing. Many of the 
Zeal hybrids are fully hardy in southern England, but just not freely enough 
available to try widely, yet.

Most of the F1 generation are not very hardy, tending to be winter-growing, 
so the aim of the breeding is to work back to N. bowdenii for hardiness, but 
finding the right combinations of parents is not so easy. What Matt is 
looking for, even in seedlings, is winter dormancy as a good predictor of 
probable hardiness. I must pester him to write an article summarising 
progress sometime.

John Grimshaw

Dr. John M. Grimshaw
Sycamore Cottage
GL53 9NP

Tel. 01242 870567 

More information about the pbs mailing list