garden notes 34, 2020, Nerines

Just before the flowering of the ivy the nerines open, and go on for weeks. They like to grow in pots, where they slowly multiply.  The leaves fade in late summer so the flowers  appear on an empty stage. They like sun and tolerate drought. They come from South Africa. Mine are this pale pink; more common is a hard, bright pink.  It’s called Nerine bowdenii and there are several different varieties. They’re reasonably hardy and easy to grow.  The bulbs are usually found for sale in spring. Why doesn’t it grow in every garden?

Here it’s growing next to a Euphorbia myrsinites which proved not to like being in a pot, but is dead easy and a good self seeder on a dry, stony bed.

Like cyclamen but unlike all the other bulbs I know nerines like to be planted shallowly, with the neck of the bulbs on the surface.

These photos were taken in different octobers.

The opening of the nerines is a significant event. They look so frail and flouncy as if they don’t really belong here; they announce the true beginning of autumn and seem to thrive in the cold and the wet. The ivy, well that’s a more subtle event, it fits in, it’s everywhere, but we hardly notice it.

I came across this in China After Covid by Wang Xiuying in the London Review of Books: ‘Other friends who are still stuck abroad (unable to get a flight or a visa) are missing a succession of delicacies: the crayfish season, the lychee season, the waxberry season, the durian season, the gordon euryale (sic) season, the sugar fried chestnut season, the pork mooncake season have all gone by.’ from China after Covid by Wang Xiuying. A lovely way of reckoning the passing of the seasons, and you can eat them.




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