Tag Archives: Nerine sarniensis

Bloom Day October 2014

Guest-hosted by Evie the Cat.

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Not another Bloom Day…and you’ve got nuthin’

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Wait, I got it! Why don’t you show them your nerines?*

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Let’s see what else we’ve got…

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Evie, those aren’t blooms!

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I better take over. Bloom on the snaky succulent Senecio anteuphorbium

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Oh, that was exciting…except not really. At least the variegated manihot has some personality.

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A self-sown Solanum pyracanthum, long-standing member of the summer 2014 Bloom Day Hit Parade

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Salvia ‘Love & Wishes’ was planted mid-summer.

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Wow, now you’re really reaching. Might as well show the nerines again.

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I know…those orange bobbles!

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The annual Emilia javanica ‘Irish Poet’ still looking as fresh as summer.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens collects monthly Bloom Day posts year-round.

*Note to Grace: Remember when finding new plant blogs was almost as exciting as receiving plants in the mail? Well, that’s how I felt when I discovered Matt Mathus’ blog Growing With Plants. In one of his many erudite posts, about five paragraphs deep into a dissertation on his gorgeous nerines, he mentioned that he had lots of extra bulbs, and if anyone wanted any, to let him know. That was probably my first experience of the interwebs made real, when it ceased being an abstraction and became peopled with like-minded sorts full of curiosity and generosity, like Nan Ondra who gave me the emilia seeds, and you too, for instance. And that’s the little story I promised you about how I came to have a pot of nerines.

clippings 9/30/13

While on the subject of concrete, precast manhole covers, stacked. I prefer to have a day’s worth of concrete projects if I’m going to drag all that mess out.

http://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/patio/designs/backyard-patio-transformation/?socsrc=bhgpin050912#page=16 precast concrete manholes, stacked photo 101350652jpgrenditionlargest.jpg

Found at BHG here, but the link loads slow.

I was continually disturbing the dormancy of the little patch of nerines in the gravel garden by digging in what I forgetfully thought was available garden space, so I moved them into pots again. And not long after they’ve rewarded me for all that rough handling with a bloom. These South African bulbs are fast multipliers.

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Mine were gifts from Matt, who blogs at Growing With Plants. He keeps a wonderful greenhouse full of fall- and winter-blooming bulbs.

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And in the offchance your inbox hasn’t been inundated with friends sending you emails of the Fiona Apple/Chipotle/Willy Wonka Pure Imagination mashup, here’s the link to the video. And some words from The New Yorker on why this pretty little video on eating fresh is raising hackles.

On the subject of inboxes, Gmail users, what are we making of the new segregation system of sorting our mail that Gmail imposed this summer? Personally, I never click on the other categories, “social” or “promotions,” but read only mail labeled “primary.” Retailers suspect as much and aren’t happy about it: “Retailers Fight Exile From Gmail In-Boxes.” — The New York Times, September 15, 2013.
I’m still mad about losing Google Reader and have yet to find an effective replacement for keeping track of online reading.

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Knots. I see knots everywhere. Knotwork for enormous pots at Orange County’s The Lab

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And a photo from their website of the pots without their finery

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unsourced image from Pinterest

Did you ever wonder what holds the center of those heavy sailor doorstops? We have. Marty is a whiz at knotwork, but finding a large, heavy orb has been a problem. Bowling balls are too large. Currently we’re experimenting with bocce balls.

Nerines in November

My zone 10, winter wet/summer dry climate makes it possible to grow nerines in the ground, and they start blooming late October/early November. These stems were cut about two days ago. Nerine bulbs are never offered for sale locally but can be had from specialty bulb growers. All of my bulbs were generous gifts a few years back from Matt (Growing With Plants), who grows them superbly in his greenhouse in Massachusetts, alongside an astonishing array of rarities, many of which he grows from seed and/or hydridizes. Matt’s nerines are blooming now, too, and come in a wide variety of colors. My bulbs bloom in this pale pink and a dark orange, which I understand to come from N. sarniensis input. Past photos show a dark pink that hasn’t bloomed yet. I really think growing them in pots, with or without a greenhouse, is the way to go for best display. These South African bulbs loathe wet, cold, heavy winter soil and need a dry patch of sunny ground to thrive. This means that patch of sunny ground will therefore be bare all summer. I can’t abide bare patches of ground in my tiny garden in summer. In fall, slender stalks lengthen. The stunning, shimmering flowers are barely a foot above ground. Mine grow in the front gravel garden, a few feet away from the boundary fence, among aloes and agaves, which gets minimal irrigation all summer. They grow and bloom unseen unless you know to look for them when the days begin to shorten. I think kinder treatment and better soil would improve flowering. That they flower at all in these awful conditions is simply amazing.


The east-facing window ledge in the bathroom is my favorite spot for cut flowers. The opaque window glass gives a greenhouse-light effect, and the cool temperature lengthens the display much longer than in the main rooms of the house.


More information on nerines can be found on the Pacific Bulb Society’s site here.
Also informative is this article from The Telegraph by Alun Rees from 2007.
I previously wrote about my nerines here.

When my bulbs thicken up, I will pass along offsets, just as Matt did, a great way to introduce more gardeners to these beautiful bulbs.

Bloom Day October 2011

The highest temps all summer hit last week, an unwelcome intrusion into fall planting season. Limbing up the big smoke tree a few weeks ago allowed a lot more light into the back garden, setting in motion some deadly domino effects when the mercury rose. Such an unlikely candidate to suffer from too much sun as a large, established echium fried in the heat wave. The ‘Tajinaste’ echium’s leaves had become accustomed to a much gentler sunlight all summer. Along with more sunlight flooding in through the smoke tree canopy, the echium’s neighbor, the big Solanum marginatum I removed, also had provided a measure of cover. (I took cuttings of what I could this morning and removed the echium’s carcass.) An Agave attenuata lost a couple leaves from the searing sun, but no other lasting damage. The potted tropicals reveled in the heat.

Otherwise, the garden is in the same holding pattern bloom-wise as September, with the salvias still in bloom as well as Persicaria amplexicaulis, shown here with a truss of Salvia canariensis.


The persicaria again with a Ricinus communis seedling just making size this fall.


There’s now three big castor bean plants, which is all this little garden can handle. Salvia madrensis in background.


The same ricinus with Rudbeckia triloba, just planted in August, brought home from a visit to Digging Dog Nursery in Mendocino County, California.
(Kathy at Garden Book just attended Digging Dog’s fall plant sale and has some stunning photos of her visit.)


This Selinum wallichianum also comes from my visit to Digging Dog in August.


The dahlia ‘Chat Noir’ staggered in the high temps but regained composure, showing some new blooms this morning.


Nerines in the front gravel garden are establishing good clumps (all year-old gifts from Matt Mattus/Growing With Plants)
I believe these are all N. samiensis. A deep orange in bloom this morning.


This Orange Clock Vine turned up at a local nursery this fall, Thunbergia gregorii, one I’ve long wanted to grow.
Pure orange blooms, no contrasting dark eye. The thunbergias do amazingly well in Southern California year-round.


Many succulents are in bloom. And I don’t think Grevillea ‘Superb’ has been without a bloom all summer.


Check out Bloom Day hostess Carol’s Indiana garden at May Dreams Gardens, with links to all the gardens participating this October Bloom Day.


I went on a treasure hunt for a half-forgotten bulb in the front gravel garden in early fall, Crinum ‘Sangria.’ I was certain it was in there somewhere.


That’s when I noticed the new green tips of the nerines piercing through a sea of gravel. Spring is full of such miracles. When they happen in fall, it makes one gasp out loud.


Yet the crinum remained elusive. Brushing lyme grass out of the way, sure enough, the crinum was buried under Pelargonium sideroides and withering away from lack of light.
(If I could remember where I subsequetly planted the crinum bulb, I’d have a photo of that instead of the pelargonium.)


Which has always been the problem for me with the “other bulbs,” these late summer-blooming bulbs of the amaryllidaceae family: Remembering where I’ve planted them. These bulbs, including crosses like amerines and amarcrinums, were born to thrive in my zone 10, winter wet/summer dry gravel garden, but I’ve been too slow or stubborn, or both, to catch on. For starters, any plant that hates to be disturbed is going to have a difficult time with the incessant renovations taking place in my garden. Pot culture is required by gardeners in zones too cold to grow these bulb outdoors, and that method may provide a solution for me as well, as counter-intuitive as it may seem. (Plus I hate having to mess with lots of little pots.) In my defense, I have never seen these bulbs grown locally, or even offered by local nurseries for sale.

To finish the poor crinum saga, I pulled it out roughly by its pseudostem. With this kind of treatment for a bulb famous for resenting disturbance, I can kiss off seeing a flower from that bulb for, oh, five years. Maybe forever. Sigh. I didn’t really expect it to flower anyway. I’m a firm believer that if you don’t commit, really commit body and soul to a plant, it just will not grow for you. And making a commitment to properly site these summer-blooming members of the amaryllidaceae family where they won’t be swamped by other plants has always been my weakness.

I’m fairly sure I moved the crinum somewhere in the vicinity of the nerines that Matt Mattus of Growing With Plants mailed to me last year in a remarkable gesture of horticultural generosity, in a sunny spot as close to no-disturbance as I can muster. I’m wildly excited about the prospect of seeing Matt’s nerines bloom. The wonders he produces in a Massachusetts greenhouse put me to shame here in mild zone 10.

Upon discovering them in growth in late August, I had carefully marked the site of the dozen or so Nerine sarniensis with blue glass so I didn’t inadvertently stomp on them and began to water them.
(Providing a dry spot for such bulbs has never been an issue. This area was dead dry.)


On September 27, the flower bud forms, backlit by blazing morning sun, another day over 100 degrees.


And today, the flower bud just about to open:


And wouldn’t you know, I’m leaving town for a week on Wednesday. Hurry up, nerine!

In the meantime, here’s a 2006 post by Matt on his nerines, as well as a recent post on nerines from The Exotic Garden Blog.

Warm thanks again to Matt for the gift of nerines. I definitely won’t forget them.