Seen at the Festival of the Tree

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

Saturday, 15 October 2016

GBBD: Autumn's Surprise

White nerine brightening up my side garden for the first time

Earlier in Blooms Day I talked about the concept of Sleep, Creep, Leap which allows plants to take time - around three years - to establish themselves before they show their full glory. I've also blogged about surprise returns to the garden after a long absence - yes, I'm looking at you, Fuchsia 'Garden News' and you, Anemone 'Hadspen Abundance'.

Little did I know there was an even bigger garden surprise awaiting me, in the shape of the pictured nerine. I planted it in a sunny gravel area at the side of my garden seven years ago; the best spot for it, or so I thought. Most years it's deigned to show a couple of untidy sprawling leaves and this year it's actually flowered for the first time.

My last job often took me to Dublin, where it seemed every front garden hosted a border or two of the more familiar pink nerine at this time of the year. I felt they'd lined up in welcome, with their heads nodding approvingly in the breeze as I made my way into the heart of the city. I decided to honour that notion, but with a twist to make it my own.

When I researched this post I found the probable reason why my nerine has taken so long to flower. I thought it was a relatively hardy Nerine bowdenii, but the RHS website shows it as Nerine undulata (Flexuosa Group) 'Alba' instead. The details say its hardiness is H3, thus only suited to milder areas in the UK. Perhaps last year's relatively mild winter is why my bulb has flowered at last.

Was it worth the wait? I think so. I love the frosted sheen of the petals, which remind me of icing sugar. Now I've found my bulb is tender, perhaps it's time for some Dublin-inspired lipstick-pink ones instead.

What's been the biggest surprise in your garden this autumn?

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. That Nerine was worth the wait! My biggest surprise was the return of blooms on a florist Cyclamen given me earlier in the year. Everything is always a joyful surprise when blooms suddenly appear.

    1. Jean - you've reminded me of how I'm always surprised when everything comes back in the spring. I know it's nature's way but I always manage to convince myself that everything's died over winter. I managed to keep one of those florist cyclamens going for years, so I wish you many years of happiness with yours :)


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