The daintiest of nerines – N. filifolia
Nerines are a star of our autumn garden so the appearance of N.filifolia always arouses that slight sense of autumnal melancholy in me, coinciding as it does with the realisation that the days are getting shorter again. But the references tell me that in fact it is summer flowering and certainly it is always the first nerine to bloom here. It is also the daintiest member of that family that we have. It is tiny. While the stems can be about 25cm long, individual flowers are only a cm across at most with particularly frilly, waved petals in deep pink and nine flowers to each head.
The filifolia part of the name means fine foliage, grass-like in the vernacular. With us it is evergreen. In harder climates, it may lose its leaves. Like all nerines, it is a South African bulb, from the Eastern Cape area. It builds up easily and is not fussy in the garden, as long as it doesn’t get swamped by stronger growing plants.
Nobody could call it spectacular. It is just one of those little treasures that adds detail and seasonal interest to the garden. The problem will be sourcing bulbs. You will probably only find it from bulb specialists or other gardeners, though Trade Me is always worth watching for odd plants that are not widely available these days.
First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.
1) Nerines, mostly sarniensis hybrids, are a mainstay of our autumn rockery.
2) Instead of thinking buxus hedges, think instead about lines and definition in the garden. There are other ways to achieve a similar outcome without the blighted buxus hedge – Abbie’s column.
3) Our mild and dry autumn continues – weekly garden tasks and hints.
4) It may be six months until our annual Garden and Rhododendron Festival here in Taranaki, but dedicated garden openers are hard at work and counting down already.
Autumn in the rockery at Tikorangi
Our rockery has two main periods when it is at its fullest and most colourful – in the early spring when dwarf daffodils, snowdrops and many other tiny treasures bloom and right now in autumn when the nerines and cyclamen hederafolium are at their best. My summer mission taking apart every pocket in the rockery has borne fruit with renewed vigour apparent throughout. Some may think the nerines on the garish side but we love their autumn display. We have a whole range of colours now from nearly apricot through coral, orange, reds, pastel pinks to highlighter pink and deeper, smoky colours bordering on purple. Felix Jury worked with the nerines, mainly sarniensis hybrids and he acquired some of the Exbury hybids over 40 years ago. Most of the cultivars in our garden are unnamed hybrids from that time although Mark has also had a play in his turn and did name one, Coral Star, which we have sold in the past. Felix’s preference leaned towards the smoky plum colours and he named two: Smoky Queen and Nelson’s Blood.
From near apricot to near purple with plenty of oranges, reds and pinks between