Monday, 20 October 2014

The Mysterious Nerines

Gentle Reader ~~~ I have been absent for some days.  Nearly a fortnight ago we had a rare and intense electrical storm pass over our area and a lightning bolt apparently hit something in our local telephone exchange and somehow fried all the BT HomeHubs across the village.  Oddly, other service providers were not affected!  

For nine days I spent hours on hold, and eventually my connection was restored. Had they listened to me I would have been back after only two days, but as it was they didn't listen and so I remained off line for all that time.  I learned how much I have come to rely on the internet, and that is a tale for another day ~~~

Apparently, it was quite a stormy night and while my friends and neighbours tossed and turned, some pulling the bedclothes over their heads in fright, I slept throughout the night as lightning thrashed and thunder clashed across the night sky ~~~

Here is a tale of mystery and intrigue, which is partly resolved and partly not ~~~

A long time ago, the gentleman who lived in the old farmhouse across the way told my mother that she could help herself to bulbs of the beautiful, multi~headed and intoxicatingly fragrant narcissus that flowered in his borders ~~~ time passed and my mother didn't like to go into the garden, despite being given permission, and eventually the old man died and the house was sold on.  The narcissus remained and bloomed every year in the Spring and each year my mother regretted not going to dig up some bulbs while she had the opportunity.

Many years passed, and a succession of owners came and went ~~~ then, four years ago the offer was made again by the then owners. Not being that shy, and with permission, I went along with my spade and carefully dug up a dozen or so of the precious bulbs and brought them home.  I didn't have a spot prepared, so I put them in a large terracotta pot and promptly forgot all about them!

The following spring, the pot was full of the healthiest, strongest leaves but not a single bloom was seen.  Time passed, and the same thing happened the following year, and again the year after that! What was happening?  I could not understand it, and thought that maybe they took time to settle in after being dug up, or maybe they didn't like being in a pot.  So, I made plans to get them out of the pot and in the ground this very Autumn.  

Now, as you know, my back is suffering quite a bit at present, so this task slipped from my mind ~ then, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that there were some green spikes emerging from the pot, and there were the start of tiny flower buds in clusters on the top of these spikes.  What could this be?  Surely they had not decided to produce flowers at the end of the year and without leaves?

I waited, with curiosity ever growing as the flower buds grew bigger and bigger and began showing slight tinges of pink! Certainly not what I was expecting to see and so the mystery deepened ~~~ what were these strange flower spikes?

Then, one day, the mystery was partly solved ~~~ the buds burst and showed their secret ~~~ beautiful, bright, pink Nerine bowdenii!!! Imagine my total surprise!  Here is the first one to open and reveal the secret ~~~



More followed to open, and more again each passing day ~~~ so now there are a total of four ~ each with a cluster of the elegant frilly trumpets ~~~





Aren't they just so beautiful?  I have always loved Nerines and wanted them in my garden for some time but have always managed to spend the gardening budget on other things ~~~ but now I have them, and for free!  Those are the best kind of plants ~~~



They are opening more delicate trumpets each day, and soon will be transplanted to the ground where I hope they will multiply {for they are good spreading plants} to give a striking display of colour to the Autumn borders year after year ~~~ now that I know they are Nerines, the flowering spikes are correctly called 'scapes' and the leaves will follow and I will closely observe them, for I am certain that these are bonus bulbs accidentally gathered at the same time as the failed Narcissus, yet there are no Nerines in that garden in that particular spot.  Only time will tell now! Curiouser and curiouser ~~~

So, the mystery, however, is only partly solved ~~~ how did I managed to dig up and bring home the dozen bulbs of narcissus that have not yet flowered, and now four years later Nerines are growing in the very pot where the narcissus give leaf but no bloom in the Spring?  Watch this space ~~~ remembering that ~~~


~~~ A Gardener's Work Is Never Done ~~~

23 comments:

  1. I love that story, do you live in the house you grew up in. The blooms are beautiful & how wonderful to get colour like that this time of year.
    Another beautiful post,
    Fondly Michelle

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    1. Dear Michelle ~ I think we were posting and then replying to each other at the same time today!
      No, this cottage was built by my late father some thirty years ago, although I grew up in the house owned by my great grandmother and apart from some eight years spent abroad {Iceland and America} I have lived in this village all my life and through many changes. I can see my old home from the bottom of my drive, it is but a scant stone's throw away~~~
      ~~~waving~~~

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  2. That is quite a mystery--and a beautiful one! Are the narcissus bulbs still in that pot? If not, perhaps what you dug up were Nerine bulbs that did not have the proper conditions where they were and therefore never made their presence known. It took them several seasons to realize they were elsewhere and now free to bloom, I would say. It's like the self-imposed prison we sometimes make for ourselves because we aren't paying attention to see that the door to the cell has been opened for us. Beautiful story loaded with metaphor!

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    1. They are indeed still in there! I am eagerly awaiting the leaves to see if they resemble those that have appeared each of the last four Springs. We can but wait and see! I'm not complaining, just impatient now!
      ~~~waving~~~

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  3. Each bulb a little treasure chest just needed the correct key to open and reveal the treasure within! Enjoy the beautiful flowers, they are gorgeous! X

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    1. They are indeed, and I am enjoying immensely!
      ~~~waving~~~

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  4. Oh, Deb! What a lovely Autumn surprise for you! I love the color...We have these in our front bed which are orange. If they would only bloom in the Fall, they would serve as part of our Autumn décor. I am so glad that you are connected to us, again!! Hugs from across the sea ~ Donna E.

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    1. Oh, I have never seen them in orange! What a sight they must be. I hope you will share a photograph sometime on your lovely Briarwood Cottage journal?
      ~~~waving~~~

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  5. Oh, Deb! Your Nerines are a wonderful surprise! They are blooming in your favorite month of the year, too. I've never seen this beautiful plant before. Do they have a scent? What fun to fill your garden with brilliant Autumn color… and mystery! Have a wonderful day! ♡

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    1. Hello Dawn ~ other names for the Nerine are 'Spider Lily' and 'Gurnsey Lily', so you may find them under those names. They are quite spectacular in a border {and seem to do well in 70 mph winds too!!!} and I look forward to seeing mine go forth and multiply!
      ~~~waving~~~

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  6. Wow, what a beautiful surprise! I love that vibrant pink color, and have never heard of that type of flower. I love bulbs, they are one of my favorite things to plant! :)

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    1. It is quite a startling colour to find in the border as the year winds down too!
      ~~~waving~~~

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  7. Aren't mysteries fun? I would like to believe that if you planted the contents in a new location that both would bloom ;-) Those blooms are just stunning! I've never seen the like!
    I'm glad your up and running again :-)
    Have a wonderful week,
    Many Blessings and warmth, Linnie

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    1. Soon I will be emptying the pot and then we will see exactly what bulbs are therein! Of course, the weather will need to settle some first as we sit in the teeth of an ex hurricane again, and the Nerines need to finish blooming too, but I will report back as soon as I know.
      ~~~waving~~~

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  8. There are many lessons we learn from gardening! This is a beautiful one, Deborah. I don't have any nerines in my garden, but an elderly neighbor of mine used to have them. She called them naked ladies! So glad you are back online and hopefully nothing was damaged beyond repair at your home. Storms can be so dangerous! Take care. ♥

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    1. Ah, Naked Ladies are a different plant again in the UK! Funny how we have the same names but for different things? Nothing damaged last time, but the rafters are rattling well once more as I type!
      ~~~waving~~~

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    2. Deborah and Martha Ellen, My grandmother in Mississippi had orange lilies she called Naked Ladies!

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    3. I notice Donna of Briarwood Cottage has orange ones too. They would be something to see in an Autumn garden, don't you think?
      ~~~waving~~~

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  9. What beautiful flowers! And what a wonderful surprise for you, too. Thanks for a nice little mystery.

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    1. Hello My Friend ~~~ glad you like the flowers and the mystery :)
      ~~~waving~~~

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  10. That is indeed an intriguing story! Can't wait to hear the rest of the tale! The Nerines are breathtakingly beautiful. What a delightful surprise. Do keep us posted!

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    1. Well, Jane, I don't know that we will ever know exactly what happened now, so I am just going to sit back and enjoy my Nerines!
      ~~~waving~~~

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  11. Oooh how beautiful Debs... that color is just gorgeous!... and that is certainly mysterious?... I love to hear stories like yours... and wonder about the soul who offered the blooms long ago... and what part he still plays in all of this... hope your back is healing more each day... much love, xoxo Julie Marie

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Thank you for stopping by today ~ I love reading your comments