Nerine: Guernsey lily
Height 40-60cm (16-24in)
Planting distance 10-15cm (4-6in)
Flowers early to late autumn
Sheltered sunny position
Bulbs available late spring to summer
From early to late autumn, when most other plants are finishing their display, the beautiful Nerine bowdenii from South Africa produces large heads of up to eight. Each has six elegant, narrow, backward-arching petals of bright glowing pink. They are long-lasting as cut flowers.
The 45-60cm (16-24in) high stems rise from tufts of unexciting strap-shaped leaves. These start to fade in autumn so avoid planting nerines at the front of a border. Nerine bowdenii and its hybrids ‘Pink Triumph’ and ‘Fenwick’s Variety’ are the only members of this genus that can be grown out- doors. They must be given full sun and shelter so a protected bed at the bottom of a south-facing wall or fence is ideal.
Plant in late spring in any ordinary well-drained garden soil. Set the bulbs so their long necks are just covered, 10-15cm (4-6in) apart. Do not disturb for four or five years. Protect bulbs exposed on the soil surface with a 30cm (12in) layer of straw or bracken in winter. Remove faded flower heads.
Lift, divide and replant overcrowded plants every four or five years.
Pests and diseases