Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

ABC Wednesday - N is for...


...Nerines

I'm surprised at how my gardening tastes are changing. Until recently Nerines were definitely in the 'not in my garden in my lifetime' category. However, I decided to start exploiting the garden's gravel areas last year, and these are perfect for the baked westerly facing sector right next to the house. During the summer evenings our brick walls radiate their stored heat back into the garden, so this is the warm, sheltered spot they need.

I investigated the possibilities at last month's Inner Temple and Malvern shows. I'd already decided Nerine bowdenii wasn't the one for me - the long drive from Dublin airport into the city sees lots of tired, bedraggled specimens in every single garden along the way and their floppy, sugary, baby pinkness was just too girly in my view. At Malvern I fell in love with the bright red Nerine 'Fothergillii Major', but no bulbs were on sale by the time I decided to buy some. Plenty were available at Lytes Cary Manor on Sunday, so I made sure I got my share this time. I also added a shocking pink Nerine hybrid 'Zeal Giant' for good measure. Unlike Nerine bowdenii, these can be planted out now to flower in late summer/early autumn next year. I've decided to plant them up in a pot as N. 'Fothergillii Major' in particular is tender. I'm going to use a relatively small one as they like to be cosied up together to flower well. I'm also worried the local squirrel population may be a bit partial to them, so they'll be kept tucked up in one of my cold frames until the spring.

Do visit the ABC Wednesday blog for more gorgeousness on the letter N.

14 comments:

  1. About once a week, I pass a house which has nerines planted in a mass along the verge in front of the beech boundary hedge. South facing. They've been in full flower for over a month, not even slightly straggly. They look like Bowderii, but perhaps aren't. About 100, maybe more. They give me such joy. I've got three in a bed here, and they make me feel middle-aged.

    I'll be interested to read how yours turn out.

    Joanna

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  2. I have NEVER heard of NERINES before today.
    I am getting a NICE education on ABC Wednesday.

    Bear((( )))

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  3. I quite like bowdenii (probably because I've got 10 flowering in a clump outside). Mine are a very bright deep pink, fading slightly as they get older. They stand for ages and don't droop. Perhaps it's the nearness to the road that's making the Irish ones depressed :-)
    It is strange how gardening tastes can change over the years. I'm starting to like dahlias!

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  4. I've said it many times, you learn so much by blogging. Great post :)

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  5. How do you prepare nerines? I have never seen them.

    An Arkie's Musings

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  6. I thought you would succumb to those red beauties eventually. Definately nicer than the Barbie pink ones which for some reason remind me of candyfloss.

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  7. The plant was not familiar to me so I looked it up. It is pretty.

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  8. So funny you should mention Dublin because that's the only place nerines ever made an impression on me. Gardens full of pinkness and orange peel.

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  9. I have never heard of Nerines as well....nice!

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  10. Ohhhh VP. Those Giant Zeals are most beautiful. Would I be too late to put them into my garden>?

    I am still up for meeting up at some point!!! I am a bit slow with everything at the moment!

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  11. Hi VP - I am with you on this one too! I thought they were rubbish until they bloomed in one of the gardens I tend - and the display is quite lovely at this time of year - but they have been there for a while so it is a "mass".
    It is so interesting how our taste changes over the years.

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  12. Hi ABCers - I'll come over to your place to say hi.

    Joanna - I think it's the Guernsey Lily tag that makes them seem a bit old fashioned? But they're great for a late season injection of colour and should multiply.

    Richies - plant them like most bulbs, except they like to have their necks just peeping through the soil.

    PG - It was just a matter of time wasn't it!

    EG - I think the colour can be variable, so maybe you've got them in the right spot. The Dublin ones seem to be in dull spots in the garden and have a neglected air. I've always loved Dahlias :)

    Colleen - your description hits the nail on the head.

    SOL - now's the right time. Hope to see you soon!

    Karen - I'm surprising myself so much at the moment, but Nerines are probably the most surprising so far.

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  13. Those nerines look gorgeous, especially the deeper colours!

    I've just been out and bought bulbs to plant, but I was not very adventurous. I bought daffs and tulips and snowdrops! I don't want to spend too much because I know half of them won't survive - the mice around here are too hungry, and the soil gets waterlogged in winter. Still, I like the spring colour. I did choose some nice dark purple ragged edged tulips though, not standard red or yellow!

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  14. Hi Jay - welcome! That's a great selection of bulbs you've made there :)

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