Pink sunshine
Amateur Gardening|November 14, 2020
It might be cold outside, but as long as Toby has his favourite nerines to keep him company, he’s in the pink
Toby Buckland

IF I had to choose a desert-island flower, the bloom I’d rescue from the breakers is Nerine ‘Zeal Giant’. I love shocking-pink flowers, and this nerine’s petals are pinker than the Pink Panther sharing candyfloss with a flamingo… in the back of a pink Cadillac.

This plant also knows how to survive a shipwreck. Nerines hark from the Western Cape of South Africa, but when the first bulbs arrived on Blighty, rather than trot down a gangplank at a port they bobbed onto a beach after floating free from the hold of a stricken ship. This was back in the mid-17th century in Guernsey, where, thanks to the mild maritime climate, the flowers naturalised to become a cornerstone for the cut-flower industry of the Channel Islands. This Crusoe-esque survival and colonisation is celebrated in the nerine’s Latin name of N. sarniensis – Sarnia, as if you didn’t know, being the Roman name for Guernsey.

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