11 May, 2016

Candy pink Nerine

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

I've always loved our indigenous South African bulbs. Such a huge variety. Some I've grown from seed. And this was my mother's. So many years ago I divided her pot in two for us to share. It didn't bloom for her again and I still feel guilty for her lost flowers. The bulbs like to be UNdisturbed and crowded says Sissinghurst blog. This year they must have touched shoulders at last and decided to push up flowers!

Nerine flower

Spoilt for choice, but this shocking pink Nerine is my May choice in Dozen For Diana. Which plant does your garden speak in May? And in June the jewel in my garden is More precious than rubies!

From Donna in Upstate NY Dutchman's Breeches (a surprising name, but it fits!)
Pam in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania Brunnera (leaves lovely in both shape and colour)
Pink Nerine

I am working thru two Dozens in tandem. First Discovered Treasures found in our False Bay garden - carob tree, Marble Chips Coprosma and tall shrubby Plectranthus. Then plants that I have brought with me - white Pelargonium, Dusty Miller and yellow Hypoxis , or bought to fill the gaps I have forged out - Melianthus, and silver leafed Brachylaena.

Nerine in May

Glazed or terracotta pots will stay - the nerines are in a wide flat terracotta pot. Three little pots in a deep saucer for the pond bulbs that want wet feet. Four big pots of Agapanthus at the posts of the Washing Pergola. Leaning blue urn of striped Liriope. An unhappy cracked pottery casserole now filled with tiny bulbs. Butterfly pot of Drimiopsis.

Potted pink Nerine

I still have over a hundred plastic pots of bulbs which should either be planted out - but the little things fade away in summer and I'll lose them! Or be promoted to gracious new homes, when I can afford the pots I'd love to add.

Nerine with grey foliage

This pot lives in Spring Promise, keeping company with pink flowers on pelargoniums and Salvia greggii. With grey leaves on lamb's ears and Santolina. Tiny pink Oxalis in a new octagonal terracotta bowl.

Nerine in our garden

At the zigzag where Hypoxis lights up Summer Gold, now it is the Nerine's chance in the spotlight. After a mountain fire when the fire lilies explode into colour some are nerines. Groot Winterhoek in May 2009.

Fire Nerine
in the Groot Winterhoek
May 2009

I don't know which species of Nerine. Frilly flowers of Nerine humilis with very fine leaves of Nerine masoniorum ? Nerine is named for the Mediterranean sea nymphs (who are in the book I'm reading The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay by Andrea Gillies).

... riding a dolphin. Nereids. Sea nymphs. More like guardian angels. They came to the aid of sailors in distress...

Nerine in our May garden

On Sunday we walked on the beach to see the mass of kelp swept up by the high tide. Long fronds wave near the surface, exposed at low tide. The trunks go down to the holdfast attached to rocks on the seabed, broken free by stormy weather. Sadly that heap is speckled with plastic garbage.

Kelp on Fish Hoek beach

At the Two Oceans Aquarium you can see the kelp forest.

'Four species of kelp grow off our coast, but you are most likely to relate to the sea bamboo, Ecklonia maxima, which is washed onto our beaches by rough seas. In fact we use the Kelp Forest Exhibit as a water purifier when algal blooms in the harbour die, turning the water toxic (anaerobic). When this happens, we reduce the amount of water we pump from the harbour and pass it through the Kelp Forest before distributing it to our smaller exhibits.'

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Pictures by Diana Studer
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  1. I love your colourful Nerines; I have added some to the garden this year; they should like the heat of summer here; I've planted them in the ground as that's the only way I've ever seen them growing before but I'll remember about the pots if they don't seem happy. Foliage is growing so at least I know the bulbs are alive.

  2. May is Iris month here...one of the few bulby things left undisturbed by the gophers. I've begun adopting your method of planting bulbs in pots in an effort to foil the little devils.

  3. such beautiful bulbs, and my gosh the pots you need, wow!!
    My Peonies like crowded shoulders before they will give blossoms, patience is needed for sure,

    1. This is ridiculous for watering, I will, reduce the pots.

  4. Very interesting post. Lots of good information. Of all kinds of bulbs available, those from South Africa work best in my southern California garden, except the nerine. Now I know why. I've only had it one year and there's still room in the pot. I must wait longer. The pink is a gorgeous color.

    1. Thanks to Sissinghurst. So sad they have let that blog go dormant!

  5. I do love Nerines and grew them in my old garden but didn't bring any bulbs with me when we moved. The bulbs are somewhat hard to find here so I'll have to check mail order sources. Here in the northern hemisphere, the Agapanthus are just coming into bloom.

    1. To me Agapanthus says Christmas.

  6. I love your South African bulbs too! I took delivery of some nerines over winter and have potted them up. I haven't put them into the garden yet as the cold weather hasn't quite finished with us yet. How lovely that Kris' Agapanthus are coming into bloom already. They are just poking through the soil here. How I wish Agapanthus said Christmas to me!

  7. Oh, those are very beautiful flowers--in color, form, and growth pattern. Too bad about the plastic caught up in the sea kelp. :(

  8. I'll have my Dozen post on Monday....what a stunning flower Diana....something I wish I could grow...what a statement it makes and that pink! Wow! Even the kelp is lovely of course without the garbage...much like the beach of the lake across the street...lots of grassy debris but made ugly with garbage added.

  9. I haven’t grown nerines yet, but they are on my very long wish-list!
    May is usually the month of roses in my garden, but this year everything has been incredibly late due to the cold spring so I reckon we are about 3 weeks behind now, and even though I have some roses, most of them are still yet to open up.

  10. Your May garden looks so lush! The pink Nerine is a beautiful accent.

  11. Only just posted my May pick. Late as usual. Sorry. Love the nerines. P. x

    1. No worries abut the date. Always welcomed!